Graham Dyer has settled into his role as Wairarapa District Health Board chief executive with ease.
This week has been his first hands-on week after returning from leave that started the day after he was appointed, on December 22.
Mr Dyer said he has been impressed with the efficiency of the services in Wairarapa and he said one of the reasons he wanted the position of joint chief of Wairarapa and Hutt Valley DHBs is the similarity of values in both organisations.
"On both sides of the hill, there is a real can-do attitude and a great willingness of clinicians and managers to work together to find the best solutions for patients," Mr Dyer said.
Wairarapa DHB serves a population of around 40,000 and Hutt around 150,000. Wairarapa Hospital has 80 beds with a maximum capacity of 96, and Hutt Hospital has 270 beds.
Collectively they employ around 3000 staff and about 600 are based in Wairarapa.
They are less than half the size of Capital and Coast DHB, but when all three DHBs work together they are able to support the regional population.
"The relatively small size of both DHBs allows more direct communication both within the organisations and with the local communities.
"The closer working relationship between the three DHBs depends on using all the existing capacity in the region. It does not signal hospital closure. It's about making best use of what we've got, so we don't duplicate expensive hospital services unnecessarily," he said.
Mr Dyer said the process of amalgamating the executive management teams of the Wairarapa and Hutt Valley DHBs is under way and should be completed by the end of March.