In an article https://businessdesk.co.nz/article/opinion/are-we-ditching-dhbs-because-we-dont-like-what-they-show-us pointing out the futility of the development of a new health system Ian Powell questions the sensibility of the move. He wrote in Business Desk:
Ten months ago, health minister Andrew Little announced the government intended to abolish district health boards (DHBs) effective from July 1 this year. This was never signalled and came as a complete surprise to the health sector.
DHB abolition was never part of Labour’s election campaign in 2020. It was not part of the narrative around the review of the health and disability system, led by Heather Simpson, nor of the leadup to Little’s announcement. There was a complete lack of prior consultation.
The minister’s justification for replacing DHBs with a new additional national bureaucracy (Health New Zealand) was that they were responsible for a so-called postcode lottery in the health system. But no evidence was given to this claim.
The issue is that the NZ health system is underfunded. Think back to when the Ministry of Health turned on our city and underfunded the CDHB. It responded to the need for additional funding after the earthquakes and the mosque murders by ensuring that the executive was driven out of office. An executive which was world class. An executive which budgeted that the deficit in the last financial year would be $145m. Without that executive in control the deficit blew out to $177m. So much for the efficiency the Board chair spoke about when the old executive was driven out of office.
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