15 Jul 2017

Canterbury DHB disputes Treasury report

8:13 am on 15 July 2017

It's unacceptable Canterbury DHB's management were not spoken to before publication of a report criticising its financial performance, and some claims are inaccurate, the acting chair says.

Christchurch hospital

Christchurch hospital Photo: RNZ / Karen Brown

The Treasury document was released under the Official Information Act and said the DHB's 2017/18 draft plan signalled a "marked deterioration in its expected financial performance".

It went on to say that the DHB needed to strengthen its financial performance and that the board's management team had shown "little sign of being willing to respond to the situation and Board governance has been and remains ineffective".

Sir Mark Solomon is the acting chair of the DHB and took over in February.

Sir Mark said that neither he, chief executive David Meates, any of the management or the governance team had been contacted by Treasury when it was compiling the report, and the first time they became aware of it was when the criticism came out in the media.

He said that was unacceptable, and a lot of the allegations were incorrect.

"I think it is poor form - the people that have written that report have never spoken to the board [and] the management of Canterbury District Health Board."

Sir Mark said a lot of the allegations that were in the Treasury report were also factually incorrect: "if you look at all the performance graphs, Canterbury has performed very well."

He also disputed criticisms of the DHB's governance.

"I would say that I believe that the board and the management of the district health board are working in a very good governance manner and management manner."

Sir Mark said the resources that Canterbury DHB received were not fair or reasonable and it needed to be funded at the national average of funding that went out to DHBs through the recovery period of the earthquake, rather than on population-based funding.

Sir Mark said he would be responding to the Treasury's report, but he would have to see what would happen from the government end next.

He had not spoken to Director General of Health Chai Chuah or the Minister Jonathan Coleman on the matter.

However, he said he had put to Dr Coleman that there seemed to be a "war" going on between the Canterbury DHB and the Ministry and the only way a resolution could be found was to get all parties at the table.

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