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Health Board Unfairly Under Fire

3rd December 2004

Health Board Unfairly Under Fire

Incoming Auckland District Health Board member Dr Jackie Blue has come to the defence of Chairman Wayne Brown and the out-going Board.

Dr Blue slammed New Zealand First spokesperson Barbara Stewart comments that the Auckland District Health Board should be sacked as a first measure to reduce the $67 million deficit the Board is facing.

"That reasoning is totally flawed and muddied' said Dr Blue. " I have read previous Board papers and observed recent Board meetings. It is clear to me that Wayne Brown and his out going Board have had to soldier on in extraordinarily difficult circumstances."

The Ministry has neatly carved the Auckland region into three health board areas with their own funding and considers that people seek medical help from the area where they live. But Aucklanders move freely in the region and seek medical attention anywhere in the area, said Dr Blue.

"In addition, the Auckland City Hospitals are very often regarded as the hospitals of 'last resort' and are often referred very sick patients outside their region to care for but do not receive funding from the region where the patient originated".

The funding model used is clearly unsound and it is very encouraging that the Board and the Ministry are working closely to find a solution, said Dr Blue. "It is the classic 'robbing Peter to make Paul look great' scenario where the Auckland District Health Board is made to look like it is mismanaging its affairs - nothing could be further from the truth".

Background

Sack DHB As First Economy Measure

Press Release by New Zealand First

New Zealand First's health spokesperson Barbara Stewart has called for the sacking of the Auckland District Health Board as the first measure to reduce the $67 million deficit the board is facing.

This follows the Minister of Health appointing an independent adviser to the board to help it work through what are described as "complex issues" as it struggles to reduce its financial deficit.

"Drastic measures need to be taken to deal with a situation that is obviously out of control, said Mrs Stewart.

"The health system in Auckland was always going to collapse under the weight of immigration and the increased health problems, not to mention the normal rate of increase of sickness in a rapidly growing urban area.

"We repeatedly warned the Government this was going to happen and the district health board has been unable to manage the situation and has been left to carry the can.

"That said, the board had a duty to alert the Minister in a most forcible way to this deteriorating situation and to take some responsibility for the sake of the public.

"They have been negligent in their first duty to the people of Auckland and their services should be dispensed with forthwith," said Mrs Stewart.

ENDS


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