Tony Blackler

It is with great sadness that we inform members of Tony Blacklers passing. Tony has been a member of the NZIHE for longer than anyone can acertain, and has served on the executive for many years, and as president. His contribution to the NZIHE is immeasurable, and he will be greatly missed by all. Our deepest sympathies go out to his wife Allison and daughter, Gillian, who have also served the NZIHE in various ways.

A memorial service will be held for Tony in Christchurch at a later date.

Tribute to Tony Blackler

First published in the Canterbury DHB CEO Update, 18 May 2020

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Tony Blackler on Monday 5 May.

He was 71 years of age.

Tony’s engineering career started with an aircraft avionics apprenticeship before he moved to the North Canterbury Hospital Board as an electronics technician and then as Assistant Engineer. In the 1980s the precision mechanical technicians came under his leadership and the name of the department changed to Technical Services.

As the clinical engineering lead for Canterbury DHB, Tony’s work included many aspects of the technology management of clinical equipment and its association with clinical service delivery.

He had many years involvement with standards development in the clinical engineering field and had been at the fore in clinical engineering activity at a national level.

Tony chaired South Island Alliance work group, the National Clinical Engineering Advisory Group and a New Zealand Standards coordinating committee.

He was awarded life membership of the New Zealand Institute of Healthcare Engineering and was Executive of the New Zealand Hospital Engineers Association.

Former Clinical Engineering Charge Technician Nigel Cross says from humble beginnings Tony had the vision to create Clinical Technologies supporting the clinical and procurement team into what it is today.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Clinical Engineer Gary Stevenson says Tony was instrumental in getting the first Infant Air Transport setup in New Zealand with the Air Force and Air New Zealand, transferring ventilated infants with heart problems.

In the early 2000s he was awarded one of the first Meritorious Service Awards for his involvement with standards development within the field of clinical engineering.

The Sterile Services Department was included under Tony’s management in the early 1990s and Tony also oversaw Mobility Services and Medical Illustration, leading a team of about 80 staff.

Tony was actively involved in the Territorial Army Brass Band and on school committees, serving as Treasurer at St Martins Primary School and Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Linwood High School.

He was a board member of the Christchurch YMCA for many years, taught Business Management part time at the former Christchurch Polytechnic, served on the Board of Managers and Session of St Martins Presbyterian Church for 43 years and was a keen member of the Christchurch South Rotary Club.

Everything Tony strived for within health, whether it was improving national standards relating to electricity, Sterile Services, assisting Procurement or working with other DHBs, it was always driven by patient safety and care.

Tony completed 46 years at Canterbury DHB prior to his retirement in April 2019.

On his 40-year work anniversary Tony said one of the best things about the job is the people he works with.