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DHBNZ Secrecy Just The Tip Of The Iceberg

29.8.06

DHBNZ Secrecy Just The Tip Of The Iceberg

Concerns being raised about DHBNZ Inc. (the little-known group essentially made up of the government-appointed DHB chairmen) merely scratch the surface of the secrecy surrounding how DHBs are run, according to Democrats for Social Credit health spokesman David Tranter. Added to the fact that the group doesn't have to comply with the Official Information Act, even DHB board members know so little about it that DHBNZ might as well be operating on the moon.

Further fragmenting the availability of information about the health system is the Health Ministry's institutionalised ignorance of what DHBs do. For example, when I recently asked Pete Hodgson how DHBs cost cataract operations he replied, "Unfortunately, neither I nor the Ministry of Health hold detailed information showing how cataract surgery is costed by district health boards ..... You will have to directly contact district health boards for this level of information" (Letter dated 18.7.06).

My subsequent enquiries to several DHBs have so far produced one response which began by pointing out that the information could be withheld under the OIA if it could, "prejudice or disadvantage commercial activities or negotiations" Mr. Tranter said.

The last OIA request I sent to all DHBs was answered by just one in three of them so most of them obviously treat the OIA with contempt Mr. Tranter said. And all this is happening under a DHB system Annette King proudly trumpeted would be "open and accountable". The current health minister's admitted ignorance of how DHBs manage their affairs confirms once and for all how misleading Mrs. King's claim was.

The private member's bill concerning DHBNZ's secrecy hardly begins to tackle the problem of DHBs' please-themselves approach to giving out information which should be readily available, Mr. Tranter said.

ENDS


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