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New papers reveal health reform minefield

New papers obtained under the Official Information Act reveal a minefield of problems attached to this Government's health reforms, Opposition Associate Health spokesperson Lynda Scott said today.

"The Treasury papers released today reveal fundamental problems with the District Health Board structure.

"Officials are warning of huge trade-offs having to be made to health services because of the vagaries of local representation on the Boards.

"There's concern boards will be hijacked by lobby groups and captured by hospital committees with their own agendas.

"There are fears District Health Boards will be reluctant to purchase services from Maori.

"Concerns are raised about a lack of expertise on Boards, that Boards' focus will be too short-term, and a lack of independent advice will see an inefficient mix of services and a lack of innovation in relation to population's needs.

"Officials are worried about an excessive duplication of functions across health boards, and stretched board level and senior management experience which will see poor decision making, inefficiencies, and inappropriate and inequitable services.

"Officials do say a positive from District Health Boards is a 'perception of community participation'.

"What's good about a 'perception of community participation' if it means people don't get the right health services?

"The Health Minister is ploughing on with her health reforms regardless of the concerns from officials and those in the health sector about the impact of the changes," Dr Scott said.

ends

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