19 Aug 2009

DHBs 'slow' to make national interest decisions

8:06 pm on 19 August 2009

Auckland District Health Board's chairman says DHBs have been too slow and parochial when it comes to making decisions in the national interest of health.

But Pat Snedden says that could and should change.

A Ministerial Review Group has recommended that the Government transfer planning and funding responsibilities that are in the national interest from district boards to a new National Health Board.

But Mr Snedden says boards should be doing that themselves "through a collection of DHBs".

"If we don't cooperate at the national, regional and local levels to actually mine the potential from the savings we can get by doing things differently and make the best use of the highest qualified staff that we've got here, we're going to miss the opportunity to serve the population the best way we can," Mr Snedden said.

He believes there should be a "much stronger ministerial mandate which is perfectly possible under existing legislation. Just say, 'you must,' instead of 'you should' or 'you could'."

Mr Snedden says the proposed National Health Board would face the same difficulties DHBs do in making complex decisions.

Mr Snedden says DHBs need to stake their claim to services in their areas.

The Government has not said when it will make decisions about the recommendations, but Mr Snedden is urging everyone with a view to submit it to the Government over the next three to four weeks.