Hawke's Bay District Health Board chairman Kevin Atkinson has slammed his outspoken board member Jacoby Poulain, saying the only way any member can criticise their own organisation is "by resigning".

Yet Poulain is defending her stance, sparked by the attempted Oranga Tamariki uplift of a baby from the maternity ward last month, where she claimed the board had "failed significantly in its duty of care to provide safe and adequate care to mother and child in this situation".

Poulain said she refused to be "subject of a proceeding where [she's] the one on trial.

"Any talk from the chairman about

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