1. DHB New Structures
Ian Powell wrote this week:
In the middle of a pandemic, the government is dismantling its structures (DHBs) responsible for ensuring the provision of hospital and community health services. Destabilising a system in a pandemic is madness. It is close to criminally insane to do this with little idea about what will replace it.
Despite how sound this comment, shared by many people who know what they are talking about, here’s what the unit charged with pulling apart our health system has written this week.
Kia ora koutou
During this time, with the highly infectious Delta strain of COVID-19 in the community, it’s important that we acknowledge our outstanding health workforce, the vast majority of whom are at the forefront of our response. The countless hours they’ve put in, and huge collective effort to keep our community tested, vaccinated and safe is incredible, and greatly appreciated.
We are very aware that our health system is currently under significant pressure. With this in mind, our first consideration in the Transition Unit, is to ensure that we don’t further impact people in the health sector, especially those directly responding to the COVID-19 response. At the same time, our work does need to continue if we are to realise the ambitions of this reform programme which has at its heart, a strengthened health system in the future.
The health reforms remain on track, and we are confident that we will meet key milestones that will ensure that the new health entities – Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority – will be in place from July 2022. However, and in light of the outbreak, we are reviewing our work programme to ensure that we continue with critical elements of the reform, such as progressing with legislation, and the establishment of the interim entities, and other areas of work, without having a direct impact on the sector.
We’ve made great progress since Minister Little announced the health reforms in April this year – and like you, I am committed to maintaining that momentum and delivering on the reform ambitions. I look forward to providing you with further updates in the coming weeks. In the meantime, look after yourselves and stay safe.
Director – Health Transition Unit (TU)
News in brief:
- Board appointments: The Transition Unit is working with the Minister of Health’s Office to finalise the process around appointment and announcement timings for the interim Boards of Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority. The Minister expects to make an announcement about Board appointments in September.
- Public Health news: The Ministry of Health announced in early August the appointment of Simon Everitt as Director, Public Health Agency Establishment. Simon’s focus will be on setting up the interim Public Health Agency within the Ministry of Health. The interim Agency will be established in September 2021 and will be the first component of the new Ministry to be designed as part of the wider health reforms.
- CE recruitment update: The Transition Unit has appointed Mana Recruitment and the Hardy Group to begin the search for interim chief executives for the Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand. Advertising for these roles is likely to appear in the market during September.
2. CDHB Finances
The CDHB Board (the largest organisation in the South Island) budget for the next financial year (which commenced on 1 July) has not yet been approved. When I had a dig, I found:
- The budget is still being negotiated with the Ministry of Health and the shareholding Ministers (Health & Finance).
- I am informed that the Chair is determined that there will an agreement this time. I trust he does not lock into place a funding agreement which dismisses the fact that Canterbury has the lowest level of health funding per capita, despite dealing with the largest NZ disasters / floods / fires / terror attacks / building programs as well as having the 6th largest Maori population in NZ.
If John Hansen supports a low level of funding for our district this will be his legacy, aside from destroying a high performing executive. Let us never forget his comments to the select committee earlier in the year:
“In actual fact there might be savings because we brought in acting chief executives with the experience we felt were needed … but the other roles were filled by the people … who have stepped up. So, I don’t think there will be a financial impact.”
Well, the “experience” his Board, and the MOH, have injected into the CDHB have produced buggar all so far. The financial impact has been to affirm what the executive he led to remove were correct.
It is very sad, that Board members have been muzzled by the State Services Commission and cannot comment publicly about any Board matters. This is not democracy. It’s centralised dictatorship.
I trust that this budget, if signed off, wasn’t because the current Board did not stand up and be counted for a major funding in-equity.