Wellington Scoop

Health boards to merge management and integrate more services

Medical specialists quoted this morning support plans for Wellington’s three health boards to share services and management.

The plan was first reported by Radio New Zealand, which says the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa DHBs are to amalgamate senior management teams, share one chief executive and boost links with the Capital and Coast DHB. The boards say the changes are not a merger but will provide better use of staff and ease financial pressures.

All three elected boards will remain, no hospitals will close, and the boards say staff will not be immediately affected.

Resident Doctors Association general secretary Deborah Powell believes integrated services will improve the training opportunities for junior doctors in areas such as radiology.

The DomPost reports this morning that prominent plastic surgeon Professor Swee Tan, who was part of the group planning the changes, said there were “a lot of frustrations” within the system. But better integration would mean specialised services would become more available.

“The boards are singing from the same hymn . . . to me this is the greatest Christmas present for our combined population.”

CCDHB chair Virginia Hope said the changes had been driven by clinical staff rather than management. “We want to be able to better utilise the resources we have got . . . and make them sustainable into the future.”