Too many DHBs

Lana Hart writes in Stuff:

The country’s District Health Boards will all blow their budgets, yet again. My own DHB in Canterbury tops the list of the country’s biggest spenders with projections of deficits of over $100 million. Added up, expected overspending for 2018/19 will amount to almost $350m across New Zealand’s 20 .
With this kind of chronic, amplified budget blow-out, it doesn’t take a health policy analyst to work out that something is broken here.
What’s a Health Minister to do? Warn DHBs to tighten their spending belts or face unapproved budgets to stalemate their organisations? Done that. Send a Crown Monitor to the worst-offending DHB to recommend ways to reduce costs, using them as an example of what might happen to other boards if they don’t keep better check on their spending? Yep, poor ol’ Canterbury. Take a long, hard look at the structure of the healthcare system with its tiddly regional health boards that suck up a disproportionate amount of costs in the name of representative governance? Now we’re talking.

I agree. We have too many DHBs. It is ridiculous Auckland has three separate ones and Wellington has two. I’d merge as follows:

  1. Northland
  2. Auckland (merge 3)
  3. Waikato-Lakes (merge 2)
  4. East Coast (merge 3)
  5. West Coast (merge 3)
  6. Wellington (merge 3)
  7. Canterbury (merge 2)
  8. Upper and Western SI (merge 2)
  9. Southern (merge 2)

Nine would be a more efficient number than 21.

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