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Two HHSs to become one District Health Board

7 July 2000 2.30PM Media Statement

Two HHSs to become one District Health Board

Health Minister Annette King today announced Canterbury Health Limited and Healthlink South Limited have accepted the logic of merging later this year.

"I am delighted by the good sense and vision of the boards of both the hospital and health services," Mrs King said. "There was never any logic in the previous Government's decision to set up two boards in Christchurch. It was an example of the competitive model running mad.

"That doesn't mean the two organisations have not strived to perform excellently," she said. "They have, but clearly they see the futility of two boards serving a similar population base. The creation of District Health Boards, with a focus on population health in their own areas, offers the ideal opportunity to merge. The boards have grasped that opportunity because they can see the virtue in the new structure."

Mrs King said the decision made a nonsense of claims made by National MP Dr Lynda Scott yesterday about the cost of the new health structure.

"Someone with her medical background should be able to see, even through blue-tinted glasses, the sense in what we are doing. Her party wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on their health reforms, setting up new organisations here, there and everywhere. The costs of this Government's changes will be miniscule by comparison, and, even more importantly, the changes will result in a public health organisations based firmly in their communities."

Mrs King said the two boards had written to her, stating their belief a single DHB would be "in the best interests of health delivery in Canterbury in the future".

The assets and liabilities of Healthlink South would be transferred, by no later than October 20 this year, to Canterbury Health under the Health Reform (Transitional Provisions) Act, she said. A governance committee, consisting of three members from each board, would oversee the transition, and had agreed to do this work without fees.

Mrs King said funding for mental health care, largely Healthlink South's responsibility, would be ring-fenced, and she was confident the new organisation would provide expertise in this area.

ENDS

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