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Source: New Zealand Ministry of Health

Canterbury DHB is starting to implement its operational plan towards a sustainable financial pathway, with continued support from the Ministry of Health and the Crown-appointed Monitor.

There is momentum at Canterbury DHB to start making the changes needed to improve their financial sustainability, says Michelle Arrowsmith, Deputy Director General, DHB Performance, Support and Infrastructure.

‘We know Canterbury DHB has faced some unique health challenges, particularly the capital redevelopment needs following the earthquakes. Like all DHBs, Canterbury is also responding to increased demand and workforce issues.

‘The Ministry has continued to work closely with the DHB, with support from Crown Monitor Dr Lester Levy, to agree a sustainable financial path forward.

‘It’s important the DHB is prepared for the future so it can continue to deliver high quality services and equitable health outcomes for Cantabrians.

‘Given the size and nature of their deficit, this is the start of a longer term plan. It’s important the DHB builds on the current momentum to ensure they are well placed to deliver on the benefits of the new Christchurch Hospital Hagley, as well as future redevelopment work.’

Canterbury DHB Chair, Dr John Wood, says the DHB and the Ministry have made good progress to come to a mutual understanding of some of the unique issues facing Canterbury DHB. ‘We have certainly moved on in terms of collegiality and agreement on a pathway forward.

‘It’s widely acknowledged that the DHB’s financial situation is complex. The Board is focused on ensuring maximum value is achieved for every dollar spent and that costs are reduced as much as possible.

‘Internally we have set up five task forces which are charged with closely examining how and where our current health system resources are invested to ensure we are well placed to continue to provide the healthcare our population requires.

‘Teams are focusing on leave care; continuous quality improvement; revenue and resource optimisation; ensuring all of our current contracts are optimal; and that we are well set up with the right people in the right places to provide the right care to benefit the health and wellbeing of the people of our community.

‘The current Board have worked hard to reach the point where the focus is firmly on the future and the opportunities available to us.

‘I have valued the input Crown Monitor Dr Lester Levy has been able to provide. He has brought a fresh set of eyes on our financial situation, our performance and the establishment and progress of the task forces as we work towards achieving financial sustainability.’

In June, the Minister of Health appointed Dr Levy to assist and support the DHB to improve its financial performance. Canterbury DHB has a realistic and achievable plan to start addressing its deficit position, says Dr Levy.

‘In my role as Crown Monitor, I’ve been engaging closely with the Chair, Deputy Chair, Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee, the Chief Executive and the senior management team to support the DHB to develop specific areas of focus which I believe will soon start to make a real difference.

‘The DHB and the Ministry have been working more constructively together to strengthen the DHB’s operational plan, annual plan, as well as future planning. The DHB will be able to scale up the volume of this work in the near future.

‘I will continue to support Canterbury DHB and offer my advice as they progress a number of initiatives to deliver the financial sustainability changes needed.

‘I’ve been pleased to see the positive engagement and determination by the Board, Chief Executive and management team to deliver this work so the DHB is well placed to sustainably continue to deliver high quality services to its community.’

MIL OSI New Zealand News