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Chuffed: Government Has Listened to Concerns



“Chuffed: Government Has Listened to Concerns Over Proposed Health Restructuring”

“We are chuffed that the government has listened to advice from us and others on the health proposed by the Ministerial Review Group (Horn Report),” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today.

"The Horn Report recommended creating a new bureaucracy, the National Health Board, as a separate, less accountable crown entity, in addition to the Ministry of Health. This would have involved major restructuring, and risked increasing bureaucratic wastage and generating paralysis in decision-making. We supported the functions proposed for the National Health Board but not the recommended structure.”

“We have worked hard lobbying government not to go down this path. Instead we recommended that the functions be allocated to a specific enhanced unit within the Ministry of Health. This is exactly what Health Minister has announced today and we are delighted. It is a relatively novel experience of a government listening to us in such a specific way. While the Ministry will have to be rejigged, the government’s decision has avoided the disruption of major restructuring and the negative effects of bureaucratic fragmentation.”

“The next key step will be who the Minister appoints to the national health board. It will be important that they are people who understand the values that underpin a good public health system and with practical experience and insight over what works and doesn’t work. The last thing we need is purist ideologues potty training or potty trained in theoretical concepts.”

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“None of this change will work, however, unless we have comprehensive health professional engagement and leadership embedded into the culture of the Health Ministry and DHBs at all levels. This is where the real health and financial gains can be made over time. The Minister has recognised this. The trick will be in delivering it.”

“There is scepticism about the savings expected in Mr Ryall’s announcement concerning the new national shared services agency. They appear aspirational rather than based on practicality. For example, a national payroll system is much more complex than the announcement suggests and many a good manager has come to grief over payroll systems. Pragmatism must be allowed to prevail.”

“Despite applauding Mr Ryall’s announcement we are under no illusions over the difficult challenges ahead of us. But these are good challenges and we are committed to working with the Minister of Health and his Ministry to achieve them” concluded Mr Powell.


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