The inevitable death of the DHBs

Monday, 26 August 2019

And the drums are beating - doing away with the health boards is suddenly de rigueur

The big guns are lining up:

Professor Felicity Goodyear-Smith - in her August 2019 Lancet article (with Prof Toni Ashton) and in RNZ interviews: too many DHBs

The review led by Heather Simpson - once Helen Clark's political fixer - with a mandate by Minister David Clark to consider new funding arrangements and whether the District Health Board system "helps or hinders" the provision of healthcare

Colorado Health Institute expert Amy Downs (hosted by the Treasury) recommended the number of DHBs be reduced from 20 to between four and six.

The rumour mill - Finance Minister Grant Robertson thinks there are too may DHBs

And, last but not least - the vibe at The Centre - look what Chris Hipkins is doing to the polytechnics - nationalisation rules

My bet: this will be the last one

The board elected on October 12 will be the board that affects what comes next in Otago and Southland.

Or, the board that dies in a ditch trying to stand against the tide, and delivers us up to Canterbury.

Don't get me wrong - I think there are too many DHBs. The real question is: what do we want to be left with when the SDHB is no more? What do you want the board that fights for our services to look like? It's going to be a political, not a clinical, battle.

Dr Malcolm Macpherson for the SDHB