NZBS Executive Management Team
Fiona Ritsma - Chief Executive Officer
As the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Fiona leads the Executive Team and is accountable to the NZBS Board. She has overall responsibility for organisational performance including delivery of both its Annual and Strategic Plans and represents NZBS on the National Haemophilia Management Group.
She has a strong focus on values and teamwork. The matrix structure of the leadership team sees the National Medical Director, National Technical and Donor Services Managers acting as strategic partners to the CEO; providing critical clinical advice and support to enable achievement of the organisation’s objectives. The Information Services and Marketing functions also report directly to her.
Fiona commenced her career in health as a radiotherapy radiographer in Christchurch and spent the 18 years prior to joining NZBS in various management roles at the Auckland District Health Board. She is an active member and past President of the New Zealand Institute of Health Management and is currently Vice Chair of the Asia Pacific Blood Network.
Dr Peter Flanagan - National Medical Director
The NZBS Clinical Services function which Dr Flanagan leads plays a key role in ensuring that clinically appropriate blood products are provided to patients in need, wherever and whenever they are required. Expert transfusion medicine advice is available at all times and is drawn upon in a wide range of situations, from selection of donors to assisting hospital clinicians to provide treatment for complex or urgent clinical transfusion problems.
The clinical function for the organisation is provided by six Transfusion Medicine Specialists located in various centres around New Zealand with support from a number of Medical Officers and six Transfusion Nurse Specialists.
Peter originally trained in Haematology and Transfusion Medicine in the United Kingdom. He worked as a consultant in Transfusion Medicine for the National Blood Service in England for 10 years before moving to New Zealand to take up his current position. He is actively involved in a number of professional organisations and is currently the President of the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT), a member of the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Blood Transfusion Medicine and a member of a number of working groups of the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines (EDQM) relating to the ‘Guide to the Preparation, Use and Quality Assurance of Blood Components’.
John Harrison - Chief Financial Officer
John leads the NZBS Finance function with responsibility for all finance related activities of NZBS as well as the management of procurement related activities.
The Finance team have responsibility for all invoicing and debtor management duties; procurement of general supplies and services with post contract performance monitoring; insurance risk management; creditor management; product and service costing and pricing management; and treasury and funds management. The Finance team are also responsible for the annual budgeting process, financial forecasting, monthly financial management reporting and statutory financial reporting and associated financial audit and regulatory compliance requirements. The financial management information systems and business intelligence system maintenance and development are also finance function responsibilities.
John is a Chartered Accountant and member of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants. He has a wealth of experience in varied finance roles ranging from Senior Corporate Finance roles interspersed with periods of self-employment. Since 1992 he has worked primarily within the Crown entity sector.
Sue Jensen - National Manager Human Resources
The National Manager HR is responsible for providing strategic human resource leadership ensuring policies, programs and HR services support a high performing culture supportive of the Enduring Outcome, Vision and Values of NZBS.
Sue’s team includes regional HR Advisors, the NZBS Health and Safety Advisor and Payroll team, all of whom are focused on helping NZBS evolve as ‘a great place to be’. Working in partnership with members of the Executive and Senior Management teams her team works towards attracting, selecting, motivating and retaining a highly qualified and diverse workforce; promoting effective leadership and management practices; managing salary and benefits; developing employee recognition programmes; promoting fair and equitable treatment of employees through employee relations services; leading health and safety inclusive of wellbeing initiatives; and providing training and development.
Sue has an extensive history working in the health sector initially as a registered nurse in New Zealand and overseas; and since 1999 in a range of Human Resources (HR) management roles, primarily within DHBs.
Christine Van Tilburg - National Manager Operations
Christine leads the Operations function which provides all routine business activities for NZBS sites in the collection, manufacturing, testing and distribution of 181,800 blood donations which are dispensed through NZBS or DHB blood banks around New Zealand.
Christine’s team includes six Area Managers, each of whom are responsible for the performance of their regions, and the Logistics team who ensure safe and efficient receipt, storage, distribution and transport of products between NZBS sites and external customers. Her team also play a key role in determining the collection targets for each region and managing the call centre to ensure the schedules are filled to meet demand.
Christine trained as a Medical Laboratory Scientist specialising in transfusion science, haematology and immunology and has over 30 years of experience in these fields. Prior to moving into her current role, she spent several years as an Area Manager and following this, her role as Business Development Manager involved the management and implementation of complex projects within NZBS.
Ray Scott - National Manager Technical Services
The Technical Services function which Ray leads is responsible for the processing, testing and supply of blood components to meet clinical requirements in hospitals throughout New Zealand. In addition Ray’s role has particular focus on strategic development of technical areas of the NZBS business and in maintaining accurate and responsive collections and production forecasting and planning.
Technical Services also undertakes pre-transfusion testing to match blood components for transfusion to patients and histocompatibility testing to support the various transplant programmes within New Zealand. Tissue Banks for the provision of bone and skin and a Red Cell Reference Laboratory are also operated by NZBS.
Ray commenced training as a Medical Laboratory Scientist in 1970 (qualifying with specialisation in clinical chemistry, haematology and immunohaematology) and his association with blood services in New Zealand began in 1970. He has a wealth of experience and technical expertise in blood service operations.
Meredith Smith - National Manager Quality and Regulatory Systems
The NZBS Quality and Regulatory function is responsible for implementing the quality systems required for regulatory compliance. It is also the champion for quality improvement initiatives in the organisation.
Meredith’s team includes the Quality Systems team who are located across all main sites and provide the operational teams with support and advice on quality and regulatory issues and conduct audits to verify compliance with requirements. The Document Systems team is responsible for managing all NZBS controlled documents and records. Meredith also holds the role of NZBS Privacy Officer.
Meredith has 30 years’ experience in the fields of haematology and transfusion. She originally trained in Australia as a Medical Scientist specialising in haematology and immunohaematology. After several years in hospital laboratories and blood banks she spent twelve years in production and quality roles with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service before moving to NZBS to take up the Quality Manager role.
Olive Utiera - National Manager Donor Services
The Donor Services function which Olive leads is responsible for recruiting and retaining new and existing donors and performing all blood collection activities.
A key responsibility for Olive and her team is to provide the strategic direction for the Donor Services function, to incorporate best practice methods and to ensure Donor Service staff receive the training and support required to provide a consistent, high standard, customer driven service. The Professional Development Unit which she also leads is tasked with supporting the development of nurses and donor technicians in Donor Services. Olive also heads the Maori Staff Advisory Group who provides guidance at various levels within the organisation.
Olive joined the Blood Transfusion Service as a registered nurse 30 years ago. She has worked in a number of key roles and was an Area Manager prior to moving into her current strategic role. Olive is the organisations head nurse and represents NZBS on the Nurse Executive New Zealand (NENZ) committee group.