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Bureaucratic infighting costing patients

Tony Ryall MP
National Party Health Spokesman

22 October 2007

Bureaucratic infighting costing patients

National Party Health spokesman Tony Ryall says yet more in-fighting between District Health Boards is jeopardising co-operation within the health sector and costing patients services.

Mr Ryall is releasing a copy of a letter from the Canterbury District Health Board calling the umbrella body District Health Boards NZ ‘legally unaccountable’ and highlighting a breakdown in relations with the country’s two largest DHBs.

“The letter is a damning indictment on the bureaucratic nightmare that Labour has imposed on the health system. There are 21 DHBs each with a strategy and vision for everything, duplicating huge amounts of work 21 times. New Zealand needs health authorities working much closer together to improve services for all New Zealanders.

“Instead, here is this club of DHBs called DHBNZ, where there’s so much in-fighting and no accountability. There are even claims of boards being ‘held to blackmail’. Huge amounts of health money is being wasted on this bureaucratic in-fighting when it should be spent on patient services,” says Mr Ryall.

The letter from Canterbury DHB boss Syd Bradley says that ‘the CDHB and Auckland have expressed explicitly their lack of confidence in DHBNZ (District Health Boards New Zealand), its lack of legal accountability, its growing role and scope, its performance and avoidable cost to the sector’.

Mr Ryall says the strongly worded letter makes it clear that DHBs are increasingly frustratd by the poor performance of DHBNZ. The media today has reported the chair of DHBNZ Michael Ludbrook as essentially dismissing the concerns.

“New Zealanders expect DHBs to work together to improve services. Instead, Health Minister Pete Hodgson sits idly by as the in-fighting worsens. You simply can’t have any co-operation in a system where the two largest DHBs aren’t involved. The Health Minister needs to show leadership and stop the in-fighting and waste of health money,” says Mr Ryall.


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