Dr. Nigel Murray came to Fraser Health from New Zealand. He's resigned to return there

CEO leaves Fraser Health as big changes loom

Dr. Nigel Murray cites family reasons for return to New Zealand

Dr. Nigel Murray has stepped down as president and CEO of Fraser Health amid an extensive review that is expected to soon bring significant changes to the health region.

Murray served as the top administrator at Fraser for seven years and cited family reasons for returning to New Zealand, where he is in the running for a similar job.

No severance will be paid out because he’s resigning.

Dr. David Ostrow, the former CEO of Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, takes over as interim CEO of Fraser Health.

The announcement is the latest shakeup at Fraser, where the former board chair David Mitchell was removed in April by the provincial government.

The board has since been chaired by Wynne Powell, the longtime board chair of the Provincial Health Services Authority who also chairs B.C. Emergency Services.

Powell said the strategic review committee is finalizing its recommendations for improvements at Fraser.

He wouldn’t reveal details of the findings but suggested they point mainly to smarter use of Fraser’s budget allocation.

“The conclusion they came to is funding is not the major issue,” Powell said.

“It’s not just about change, it’s about helping drive better results and better outcomes. We’ve got to find a way to use the facilities in the best manner possible.”

Powell said he thinks there are opportunities for improvement in community care and long-term care in particular.

“There’s definitely got to be a refocusing of some of the moneys to help the system.”

Health Minister Terry Lake announced the review last fall in response to Fraser’s repeated failure to stay within its budget each year.

Lake at that time said the review could explore a redrawing of health authority boundaries.

Asked if Lower Mainland health authorities will be amalgamated now that Fraser is without a permanent CEO and board chair, Powell said he’s heard “that rumour” but has seen nothing to substantiate it.

Fraser and Vancouver Coastal already jointly procure various services and supplies to save money.

Powell also responded to criticism that the detailed findings of the review team won’t be released, but will instead be summarized within a new three-year strategic plan for Fraser.

He said the working papers of the committee are too complex for their public release to be helpful.

“It’s not a matter of them being hidden, it’s a matter of making sure they’re interpreted correctly,” he said.

During Murray’s seven years at Fraser, the health region’s budget climbed nearly 50 per cent, from $2.1 billion to $3.1 billion.

Even with the increase, local hospitals remain heavily congested and there’s been steady criticism that Fraser gets a lower per capita share of health funding compared to other regions.

Powell said it’s difficult to compare budgets of different health regions, because they perform different tasks.

He said the Vancouver Coastal and Provincial Health Services authorities spend enormous amounts on academic work and research that’s “essential” to improving health care and finding efficiencies.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Playtime is back!

Paula Morrison of Angel Daycare Centre captured a moment of absolute joy

VIDEO: RCMP Emergency Response Team at known drug house in Chilliwack

Armed officers respond to reports of shots, bring in ERT, K-9 unit and spike belt

BREAKING: Homicide investigators probe suspicious death on Highway 1 north of Yale

RCMP found a person with life-threatening injuries early Wednesday, who later died at the scene

Kelowna trial for three men charged in Hope murder delayed 11 months

The trial for the alleged killers of Michael Bonin has been moved to May 2021, was supposed to begin this month

Harrison officials unveil reopening plan

As Phase 3 takes effect, village amenities, services resume

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

COVID claims 23rd Langley Lodge patient, making it the deadliest outbreak in B.C.

Coronavirus kills another senior at Langley care home, bringing B.C. total to 166

Family of dead B.C. football star urge changes to mental health policies in hospitals

Uko family disappointed in actions of Regina hospital, hosting public funeral service this weekend

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Maple Ridge woman fights WorkSafe BC over police widow’s pension

Dalila Vroom says husband, Const. Rob Vroom, died as a result of PTSD from time with Abbotsford PD

Most Read