19 Jul 2017

Report on Canterbury DHB a 'Pearl Harbour' attack - doctors

11:18 am on 19 July 2017

A scathing Treasury report on Canterbury District Health Board is an attack on not only the health board, but also on all Cantabrians, a senior doctors' representative says.

Christchurch Hospitals' Medical Staff Association deputy chair Dr Alistair Humphrey.

Christchurch Hospital's Medical Staff Association deputy chairperson Alistair Humphrey Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The Treasury document, released last week, said the board governance "has been and remains ineffective".

The report said the health board would expect a deficit of $38.5 million in the 2016/2017 financial year and that "the CDHB management team has shown little sign of being willing to respond to the situation".

Christchurch Hospital's Medical Staff Association deputy chairperson Alistair Humphrey said there was no consultation before the report was released and has described it as a "Pearl Harbour-style attack".

"The problem is it was dropped by surprise ... it was effectively a criticism of all of us.

"We thought it was important as doctors to respond to what the Treasury said ... as specialists, we work at the front line," he said.

"We are not directly involved in negotiations between the ministry and the district health board.

"But we feel what we see in the media indicates that central government, Wellington, are disregarding the needs of Canterbury and at the end of the day we see it when we're working with our patients and our community feels it."

The report was an attack on not only the health board, but also on all Cantabrians, he said.

Dr Humphrey said the Treasury needed to visit Christchurch to understand the environment the health board worked in.

"Canterbury is funded less now than before the earthquakes ... and it has a larger population than before the earthquakes", he said.

Last week, the acting chair of the Canterbury District Health Board, Sir Mark Solomon, said a lot of the allegations in the report were factually incorrect, and that the people who wrote it hadn't spoken to the board or management.

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