Heather du Plessis-Allan: DHBs won't be missed - but Māori health authority a tough sell

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Wed, 21 Apr 2021, 4:54PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: DHBs won't be missed - but Māori health authority a tough sell

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Wed, 21 Apr 2021, 4:54PM

On the health overhaul, I think few of us are going to complain about the plan to get rid of the DHBs and replace them with a single health organisation.

The DHB idea hasn’t worked. Few us can be bothered voting for our DHB members. Few of us know the names we are voting for. Ultimately, the idea of accountability to your community doesn’t work if your community doesn’t care.

We’ve ended up with post code lottery, where some DHBs provide better care or worse care for certain ailments than others.

We’ve also seen the wastage that happens, where according to the Health Minister, 20 cents out of every dollar is spent on admin. 

So, this overhaul is welcome but it is the easy part of the plan.

The hard bit is going to be selling the idea of the Māori health authority.  

That’s controversial, because it is proposed to alongside the new single entity - Health NZ - and will have veto power over that body’s decisions.

So not only is the proposal that it will have control over Māori health, but it could end up exercising control over all health.

Plus, it is already being called divisive by opposition parties for proposing to create a separate race-based system.

That’s the tough sell. Not even all six of the authors of the Simpson review agreed that the Māori health authority should have this level of power.

Four agreed, two disagreed - one of them was the lead author, Heather Simpson.

So, if the woman who lent her name to the review that led to this disagrees with this, you can imagine quite a proportion of the public might too.