Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Elections and DHBs

According to Stuff, I'm unlikely to know who my District Health Board is until the end of the week. I really hope DataMail doesn't get paid - and they get taken to the cleaners for such a blatant screw up.

As for the DHB, the lack of results doesn't make a blind bit of difference, because DHBs are essentially powerless. While they are nominally in control of hospital finances, much of their spending is pre-allocated by central government, meaning that they have very litle discretion to change things. At the same time, their elected nature means that the government gets to use the DHB as a blame sink - it's not the government underfunding hospitals and underpaying medical staff, oh no, it's the DHB. While I'm very keen on democratic governance, straight-out bureaucracy would at least make it clear where the responsibility really lies.

I guess what we need are DHB members who will not only exercise proper oversight, but ruthlessly hold the government to account when funding is inadequate. But I suspect that that would result in a swift neutering rather than any real change.