Southern DHB sacked

Jonathan Coleman has announced:

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has today written to dismissing all members of the Board and replacing it with a Commissioner.

“The financial problems at Southern DHB are longstanding. I do not have confidence that the current governance arrangements are suitable for delivering on the changes required in Southern DHB,” says Dr Coleman.

This is no surprise.

“Southern is forecasting a final deficit of $27 million for the current financial year. That figure has effectively doubled in the last six months.

“The DHB has also forecast that its deficit position will further increase in 2015/16 to between $30 million and $42 million – this accounts for over half the combined deficit of all 20 DHBs. This situation of fluctuating forecasts and progressively worsening deficits cannot continue.

The other 19 DHBs are largely managing to provide their services within the population funding they get. Southern DHB has just been having expenditure blowouts, and you can’t claim it is due to a radically different population profile.

“All DHBs are funded according to the same population-based funding formula. This formula includes adjustments to recognise rural populations, age and other demographic issues.

“In a tight fiscal environment, all DHBs need to use available funding effectively. No other DHB has failed to control its finances in the way that Southern has.”

Kathy Grant has been appointed Commissioner and takes up the role on 18 June 2015. After discussions with Mrs Grant, she has indicated that she intends to appoint Graham Crombie and Richard Thomson as deputies. A third deputy with a strong clinical background will be appointed by the end of the month.

I actually think all DHBs should be appointed by the Government. The Government decides the funding and should be held responsible for how a DHB performs. Having part-elected boards allows the DHBs to be the fall guys. When the board is appointed solely by the Minister, then the buck can only stop with the Minister.

Hopefully the new Commissioner and her deputies can turn things around.

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