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Labour plans forced DHB amalgamation?

Tony Ryall MP National Party Health Spokesman

25 August 2008

Labour plans forced DHB amalgamation?

Labour should spell out how it plans to strip communities of their local district health boards, says National Party Health spokesman Tony Ryall.

"Behind closed doors, Labour appears to be working on a plan to forcibly amalgamate some district health boards, and proposals are already at the point that they're making their way through Cabinet.

"What is Labour up to? The public should be told what's happening."

Mr Ryall is commenting after Health Minister David Cunliffe let slip at the recent Healthcare Providers Conference that he was working on cutting the number of DHBs and papers are going through Cabinet.

At the conference, Mr Cunliffe asked the 400-strong audience: Cunliffe: Have we got too many DHBs? Audience: Yes Cunliffe: Are we [Labour] going to do something about that? Audience: No Cunliffe: Well, I wouldn't be too sure. I've been working overdrive in the last wee while. We've got a lot of stuff going through Cabinet and will be making announcements before the election.

Mr Ryall says regional DHBs like Northland, Tairawhiti, Taranaki, Lakes, Wairarapa, Hawkes Bay, Whanganui, Nelson, West Coast, and South Canterbury are most likely to be in Mr Cunliffe's sights.

"But also metropolitan DHBs are at risk of the Cunliffe chop. Waitemata and Hutt Valley could go to bolster their troubled neighbours.

"We understand Cabinet is considering these matters today. What is Labour up to?"


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