Another DHB in trouble

Written By: - Date published: 9:18 am, August 22nd, 2017 - 45 comments
Categories: health, national, useless - Tags: , , ,

Add Canterbury to the list of DHBs in trouble:

Cantabrians could face health service cuts ‘of unprecedented scale’

The Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) has warned “significant service cuts of unprecedented scale” will be needed if the Government does not approve its planned deficit.

Documents obtained under the Official Information Act show the Ministry of Health (MOH) is at loggerheads with the CDHB over a $54 million deficit blowout in its draft annual plan for this financial year.

DHBs are required to get ministry approval for deficits but director general of health Chai Chuah told the CDHB in March that a $61m deficit (the CDHB has since said the correct figure was $54m) was “unlikely to be acceptable”. …

Here’s some context for this mess:
Southern hospitals bear the brunt of Government underfunding
Southern DHB in a ‘slow motion train crash’
700 surgeries postponed as Auckland hospitals struggle to cope
Hardware store tools used in surgeries
Doctors say a crisis looms due to funding and GP shortage
Release of ‘damning’ Ministry of Health review delayed
Frustration, disappointment over health funding in Budget 2017
$2.3 billion shortfall in health
Leaked document shows 10 District Health Boards face budget cuts: King
New Zealand’s declining health care system is slipping behind other countries
and so on, and so on…

Meanwhile National found $10b down the back of the sofa for roads roads roads. Don’t for goodness sake have an accident while driving, because at this rate there will be no one there to patch you up afterwards.

45 comments on “Another DHB in trouble”

  1. Cinny 1

    National appears to have crippled many hospitals, causing mass suffering for many.

    Here is another link to add to the list above, news from last week. When 500 people turn out to a protest in westport to hold hands around their current hospital, it’s a big deal. Government wants to replace it with less beds and probably less services.

    ” The peaceful protest, led by the Buller Action Health Group, was the first united public stand after concerned Westport residents Phyl Phipps and Steve White presented a 16-page document to the Parliamentary Health Committee calling for a stop to the planned Buller Integrated Family Health Centre (IFHC).

    The submission followed a petition started by Phibbs, which was signed by 2500 locals – more than half the population of Westport – and presented to Parliament.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/national/95927756/West-Coast-residents-unite-against-new-hospital-plans-in-Westport

    • mac1 1.1

      The Buller Hospital is to be replaced by an “Integrated Family Health Centre.” When I heard this ten days ago, my immediate reaction was to ask what safeguards or services can be lost or put at risk if an institution is no longer a hospital? Does a hospital have to supply certain services to be named that? Is there, in other words, ‘a cunning plan’ to downgrade health services in Westport?

      • NZJon 1.1.1

        The “Integrated Family Health Centre” in Golden Bay hasn’t been a resounding success. Numerous sentinel events. About 6 GMs used up and spat out over 4 years, and staff morale hitting rock bottom. I guess it’s all par for the course when Health funding is continually cut, but the West Coast should not be suckered by fancy sounding names.

  2. greywarshark 2

    The National government is applying business practices to government service provision. The top down result of imposing impossible targets coupled with the idea that efficiency can constantly be heightened so that costs can be forced down is something that follows from the ugly predatory business world.

    And what is being done to our hospitals reflects the above approach. National has no attachment to hospitals as worthy government services to the people because National’s forward movement is to privatise anything possible that is now government provision to the people.

    We cannot change this and get a practical, working system while we have National Party and any of those infested with the neo-liberal economic worms in charge of our country. Change or die in discomfort of mind and body. Stark reality. You want the truth? Can you handle the truth or are you just a bit of wet cardboard?

    • Molly 2.1

      “. National has no attachment to hospitals as worthy government services to the people because National’s forward movement is to privatise anything possible that is now government provision to the people. “

      And that is why this information about another DHB is expected. Run down government provided services until the public comes to expect inefficiency, low quality and bad services. Only then, bring in the private companies – because – well, obviously the state is inefficient.

      A public who has already been conditioned to be let down by a service, will not be as attached to that service when it is let go into the private domain.

      • miravox 2.1.1

        I wholeheartedly agree Molly.

        and in the words of Milton Friedman:

        Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.”

        Currently these ideas have a neo-liberal flavour. In health, running down public health services provides that crisis. The gains for private sector providers is mind-boggling.

        And if this is done surreptitiously no-one even notices for awhile – then the poor working conditions and gaps in care stories begin and its all too late.

    • Tracey 2.2

      Except business fail if they fail their customers…. ask SKY… sadly nats treat the customers the same way SKY does

      • greywarshark 2.2.1

        Funny you mention that about Sky. I have turned down all their alluring offers over the phone, as I got disenchanted with TV and spending all my life looking at other people doing things.

        But is Skype part of Sky? Lately every time I listen to RadioNZ and they are trying to conduct an interview with some overseas person, it breaks up. It isn’t working well for RadioNZ otherwise known as RNZ. Has it got the cheap version, being short of government funding, so that you are only guaranteed to hear one word out of three.

        Presumably the gummint is trying to reduce all its services down to 3 alphabet letters such as RNZ and DHB. As all parents know if you have a set of wooden alphabet blocks, they start to get lost and soon all that’s left are disjointed bits and pieces. So I guess all we’ll have soon is R and D and not much else. The old R & D meant research and development but that will lose its R soon with less research except where there is guaranteed return in the areas chosen as stars by the self-considered elite, and we just have to sit and watch the development of a failed state.

  3. Ad 3

    I almost feel sorry for National.

    ….. nah

  4. greywarshark 4

    This is a relevant as it relates to something that is a big expense to the health system, and that is the aged. The last years of life are the most expensive, if the money could be spent on enabling aged people to have bed care where needed but with less hospital work, the standard could be kept up but th length of time of decline lowered. (And not mentioning how managed demise, a milder term for euthanasia, would allow happy release when people are most adjusted to the idea of death and wanting to plan the trip!)

    The government couldn’t stop the pay rise to elderly care workers, and then refused to fund what they had passed into law. Now rest homes are struggling, some manging okay but others may have to close. The chirpy cheepcheep who always pops up to feed us positive lines about uncertain futures was starting to allude to community again, and not mentioning family bearing all the weight but that would be inevitable.

    Radionz health
    Mounting challenges for resthomes
    From Nine To Noon, 9:08 am today
    Listen duration 23′ :00″

    The challenges facing resthomes, and why some have an uncertain future. Kathryn Ryan talks to Esther Perriam from Eldernet – which is a leading information provider about services relating to older people, and also to David Hanna from Wesley Community Action in Wellington about by the Wesleyhaven Village in Naenae has just closed.

    This is at a time when there is assistance to living longer than ever before with the help of medical and pharmaceutical aids. In other words interfering in the ageing and dying process. But when this happens with people who are old who become helpless, also with alzheimers where people become uncontrolled and have to be fenced in and watched, how can we manage the care for such conditions and growing numbers.

    It seems that there needs to be a treatment program with limited medicines and hospitalisation, the person declining naturally and given the help needed to be comfortable, eventually going to a retirement home and being cared for over a few months until death. Sounds reasonable, being cared for kindly and assured of concern and not extended time of pain or neglect before death. I must see what the present prescribed way of treatment for the over 75s is expressed. Once unable to act to fully live ones life then that is a case for entering an elderly care to demise treatment. I am 75 and feeling fine and active and bright, but would like to plan what I am going to do. I don’t want to be an invalid, don’t want to go to a retirement home as frail, and don’t want to live on in a demented state still active but doolally up top.

  5. adam 5

    It’s worse than this, there is allbut a cabal of POME management who have wreaked the NHS – now working in NZ. Hired by this national government.

    No wonder there is no money, the same plonkers who sucked the life out of the NHS are doing the same here. With over the top salaries, coupled with a explosion of expensive, and indeed wasteful bureaucracy across the whole of the health sector.

    Time to get rid of this government and have a long hard look at this policy of destroying the public health sector, to effectively privatise it.

  6. savenz 6

    500,000 new residents, 0 new hospitals, under National.

  7. patricia bremner 7

    Why are we surprised? This has always been the pattern.

    Labour fixes public services,

    National strips everything back to basics, including maintenance budgets and staff.

    National say they are good managers, but fail to build resilience in all public services, so the money making aspects can be sold to their mates.

    Finally they say, “Gosh, that’s not working, let’s do a public/ private partnership.”

    If the venture works the funds go private. If it fails the debts go public.

    We are going to have to pick up endless situations where planning and budgets are failing. The hospitals are the tip of the iceberg caused in part by stresses in the system.

  8. Bill 8

    “Mercy Hospital” in Dunedin is shit hot. Everything about it, from the decor to the tech. The public hospital by comparison is tired, shabby and old. (My experience was around MRI.)

    Yet, the public hospital “contracts out” to the private hospital because it’s snowed under or whatever. And I believe a number of the same highly skilled health professionals (eg – surgeons) work in both.

    Even such routine stuff as physio is “contracted out” to the physio school.

    See, I’ve got no kind of business head, so maybe it’s not surprising that the financial advantage of such presumably expensive arrangements for the public health system are beyond me.

    Likewise, it’s no surprise I can’t get my head around a friend who had just been to have a couple of stitches removed showing me the surgical stainless steel scissors and tweezers she had been given because, apparently, if she didn’t take them, they’d be for the bin.

    So the ‘idea’ seems to be to use expensive equipment once and dispose of it because….what? Inadequate or no sterilisation capacity in a public hospital?

    And then I might reflect on poverty and housing and education and general infrastructure and conclude that changing the guard, as we’re being encouraged to do with this upcoming election, is a blue million miles short of what we need to be doing/demanding.

    • dukeofurl 8.1

      The private hospitals are cheaper because theres a constant shuttle of ambulances taking their sickest patients to the public hospital.
      Complications ? Send them elsewhere

      They charge for treating public patients, dont get charged for treating the sickest private patients

      • Bill 8.1.1

        The private hospitals are cheaper because… Jeez. And I thought I was cynical 🙂

        (Not saying you’re wrong btw)

      • miravox 8.1.2

        Like a family member who had a simple day procedure at a Mercy hospital. The resulting Sepsis meant 3 weeks of public hospital care, including Emergency and Intensive care services. Then 6 weeks of public nursing services followed.

        The private hospital should have been billed for it. Better still, the public health system should have been resourced well enough to perform the simple day procedure in the first place.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 8.2

      Plenty of $’s for new Bitumen Highways ?

    • Tracey 8.3

      Private hospitals are also partly subsidised by taxpayers in the sense described here. We need to start treating all beneficiaries of tax payer money the same way. Businesses would never vote National again.

    • Tricledrown 8.4

      Mercy hospital could not open if t weren’t for the public hospital providing income and the ability of surgeons and specialists to double dip.
      Not to mention the back up for emergency and intensive care.

    • CLEANGREEN 8.5

      Thanks Bill ( Mr English.)

  9. weka 9

    I’m kind of surprised that Health isn’t a bigger issue in this election given how dire things are.

    • tc 9.1

      Exactly wtf is the opposition on this ?

      • Tamati Tautuhi 9.1.1

        MSM are not allowed to publish Opposition Party Views, look what happened to John Campbell ?

        • tc 9.1.1.1

          Campbell was removed because he pissed off the man child JK over his GCSB indescretions.

          Nothing stops opposition using it in their messaging which has been very soft on nationals wrecking job in health, education, innovation, housing etc so far.

    • Adrian 9.2

      Claire Robinson of Massey Uni said on Q and A that Masseys survey of I think 7500 had 40% say health was the biggest concern.
      Private hospitals are a lot dearer BTW.

    • miravox 9.3

      I think there are a lot of people who don’t fully appreciate how the inequitable rationing-by waiting-system works until they need it. Not just for a first specialist assessment, but throughout the course of a disease… and if that’s a chronic disease they’d be shocked to realise the difference.

      In a field I’m familiar with, private patients are seen every 3 months, public patients every 6 months, if demand and staffing issues doesn’t push that back to 9 months. The doctors are the same people in both public and private, but the scheduling delays only occur in the public system, for some reason.

      • The private health system actually prevents good health care as the people working in it are often the same people as who are working in the public system. This is, quite literally, removing the resource from one system and putting it in another. It’s not increasing the resources which is what is actually needed.

    • Ian 9.4

      more votes in bashing farmers

      • One Anonymous Bloke 9.4.1

        Poor Ian playing the victim. Better stick to farming Ian; you’ve got no chance as an actor.

  10. Tamati Tautuhi 10

    Why do me employ these useless Pommies in our bureaucratic system ?

    Neoliberal Economics = Zombie Economics

    Absolutely Hopeless Situation here in NZ ?

  11. CLEANGREEN 11

    I am 72 and still waiting for surgery for a hernia and now a knee operation, since 2008.

    Our hospitals in HB/Gisborne are also now showing the stress of running low on funding.

    Also tooth repair subsidies have been taken away from us all by this ‘ NATIONAL’ government that labour had PUT THERE for us all for fillings and extractions.

    This government ‘NATIONAL’ have savagely cut all medical services now!!!

    While at the same time they want us to pay for another $10 billion to subsidise another 10 roads for truck freight companies???

    GET RID OF THIS GOVERNMENT BEFORE THEY KILL US ALL.

  12. Don’t for goodness sake have an accident while driving, because at this rate there will be no one there to patch you up afterwards.

    All, apparently, part of the plan to privatise health in NZ and thus make the citizens an even bigger source of profits for the rich.

    • CLEANGREEN 12.1

      Yes Draco T Bastard,; – I believe that.

      Then if you are retirement age Government now see us as a financial drag on their purse with paying us pension so they try to speed up our demise?

      • Retirement is a tricky beast ATM. We really do have a lot of people retiring and not enough people to replace them (the Baby Boomer Bulge) which means that there’s a very real possibility that the volume of real wealth created by the country will decline as the Baby Boomers retire. On top of that people really are living a lot longer.

        There’s a few ways that this bulge can be catered for:

        1. Increase population so that there’s enough young people in work to cover the loss of the retirees
        2. Increase productivity enough so that there’s enough young people in work to cover the loss of the retirees
        3. Stop people retiring so that the economy isn’t so dependent upon a declining proportion of young people

        National and Labour before them worked heavily on 1 and 3 but failed miserably on 2. Our productivity has remained flat which, IMO, is because of our reliance upon commodity exports rather than developing our economy to produce higher value goods and greater diversity.

        • CLEANGREEN 12.1.1.1

          Good points .Draco

          There was another way I saw while living in Canada/US in the 1990’s as a Kiwi.

          US/CANADA have a retirement at 55 and use a sliding scale so that when a baby boomer decides to retire early they get about 12% drop in pension for retiring at 55 rather than 60 then.

          I recall a political party here also floated this policy during the 2014 election.

          I met lots that did this.

          The early retirement policy was found to free up quite a lot of jobs for job seekers also.

          • greywarshark 12.1.1.1.1

            Who are the job seekers? I have a bad feeling about the gentleman who is
            the director general of health Chai Chuah as in the link of the post. He may be a very long standing NZr but so many Chinese I have met are into self-advancement with little social welfare thought.

            With the habit of bringing in change agents and high flyers from all over the world, Brit, USA, Canada – mostly from our 5-Eyes English-speaking friends – who will fly over here for the great salaries we offer, there is no surety that NZrs will get any jobs freed up and our social mobility will continue at a risible level for most.

  13. NZJester 13

    One of Nationals many lies is that they have increased the health budget to higher levels than what they received under Labour. But when you adjust the increases for inflation they have not really been keeping up. Then there is the fact we have had an increase in population over their years in government so the per person spend on health has drastically dropped at a time when a lot of their other policies are increasing the need for more health services.

  14. CLEANGREEN 14

    National wont spend on health but;
    National want to spent another $10 Billion on roads!!!

    So I had already written to Minister of Transport on the effects of truck road gridlock and health impacts, so we were asking him to re-open our rail service instead of spending on roads last month, and he ignored our plea below, so see what we have now with truck roads of mania in Napier now, it is a public health disaster about to explode folks.

    TO; Minister of Transport Simon Bridges,
    6th July 2017.

    Dear Simon.

    We send you (below) a copy of this transport minuted meeting held in Napier last week as evidence of the environmental freight trucking disaster your administration are setting our community up for in Napier as trucking volumes are steadily increasing.

    As you choose to wind down rail; when TRUCK FREIGHT IS TAKING ALL FREIGHT FROM WELLINGTON following the closed Centre Port facility in Wellington is now being shipped by road to Napier and other regions also placing another 500 truck trips a day onto our already gridlocked roads in HB/Gisborne now.

    Read the minutes of the meeting and the previous meeting held in Napier in 2014 between NZTA and residents groups.

    We have formerly requested the National Party candidate David Elliott at a meeting with him last week to invite you to meet with us this month in Napier at this venue we held last Thursdays meeting at and now request formerly that you attend a meeting with us all this month at your convenience with David Elliott also.

    Please take this opportunity to respect our community wishes for the health & safety of our families in our communities by attending our requested meeting with you as soon as possible.

    Your written response is respectfully requested.

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