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UF seeks fundamental DHB change

Media statement
For immediate release
Tuesday, 18 March 2008

UF seeks fundamental DHB change

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne today urged the Government to undertake a fundamental review of the structure of the country’s district health boards, ‘because clearly the current system is failing disastrously’.

“I acknowledge there is a great reluctance to have yet another health restructuring and there is a similarly understandable desire for local communities to have some say in their own health services,” he said.

“But it is impossible to ignore the appalling record of failure at DHB’s around the country.

* Capital and Coast has a new Government-appointed minder;

* Hawkes Bay is clearly in turmoil with a sacked board and a new Commissioner;

* Wanganui has a sorry record of surgical care and staffing problems;

* Southland is reported to be in trouble;

* And the list goes on.

“With 20-plus DHB’s for a population of just over 4 million, in a time of international pressure on the medical workforce and increasingly expensive medicines and medical procedures, the time has come to look at centralising recruiting and purchasing systems, so that New Zealanders can get the quality of healthcare they deserve.

“In the light of the current failing system, that may be the best middle way to deliver quality healthcare, otherwise there might be pressure to do away with DHBs altogether, which would also take the local aspect out of healthcare management, and that would be a backward step.

“One thing’s for sure. We cannot afford to continue in the present bumbling, fumbling, stumbling system and call it quality healthcare.

“We need action, and we need it now,” said Mr Dunne.


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