DHB chief executive Chris Fleming said in a statement today that it was “with regret that Leanne Samuel, Executive Director Nursing & Midwifery, has tendered her resignation to pursue other opportunities outside of the District Health Board”.

Labour’s health spokesman David Clark told Radio New Zealand on August 4 that Samuel was one of three senior staff to resign within 48 hours at the DHB and the loss of experience was ‘unfortunate timing’ as the DHB struggled with understaffing and resourcing issues. The DHB’s board was sacked two years ago by the Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and replaced by a Commissioner.

Fleming said Samuel’s expertise and knowledge of the health system, passion for nursing and midwifery practice and leadership in nursing and midwifery would be missed and he wished her all the best for her future endeavours.

The DHB had announced on June 30 a new management structure that involves disestablishing 11 nursing leadership positions, including Samuel’s executive director role, and replacing them with seven roles including the new role of Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer.

The initial proposal had been to disestablish 13 nursing leadership positions and replace them with only four but this had been revised after 136 submissions opposing the changes and after discussions between the chief executive, Samuel and the New Zealand Nurses Organisation.

Samuel was finishing with the DHB on Friday and new Chief Nursing & Midwifery Officer Jane Wilson is to start in her new role on Monday August 14.

Wilson has been based at the DHB’s Commissioner’s officer where she was appointed implementation manager in late 2015 but prior to that was acting director of nursing operations and had been a nursing director for the DHB since 2010 and a charge nurse manager in Dunedin since 1997.

Samuel was director of nursing and midwifery at the former Southland District Health Board prior to the merger with neighbouring Otago District Health Board. She became first the regional chief nursing and midwifery officer in 2009 than executive director of nursing and midwifery at the creation of the merged Southern District Health board in 2010. In all Samuel has worked within the merged Southern District Health Board for more than 30 years as a nurse, lead maternity carer midwife, charge nurse, service manager, general manager and nursing director.

Fleming said the process of appointing the other six new nursing leadership roles was progressing well with interviews due to take place over the next two to three week period.

NEW NURSING ROLES ESTABLISHED (to replace 11 disestablished roles)

  • Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer
  • Director of Nursing Southland
  • Director of Nursing Surgical, Dunedin
  • Director of Nursing Medical, Women & Children, Dunedin
  • Director of Nursing Strategy, Primary & Community, DHB wide
  • Associate Director of Nursing Southland
  • CNM Perioperative, Southland)


  • Director of Midwifery
  • Director of Nursing Mental Health & Addictions and Intellectual Disability
  • Associate Director of Nursing Surgical Dunedin – Perioperative & ICU
  • Associate Director of Nursing Medicine – Southern Blood & Cancer




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