Friday, May 22, 2020

Labour is still underfunding our health system

Last week, an article on Newsroom made it clear how the funder / provider split - a core part of our public service - was used to enable underfunding. The government holds the purse strings, but dumps responsibility for its decisions on providers, so they get the blame for poor service. The article was crystal clear: "In both health and education, central government has abdicated responsibility and accountability... using the funder-provider split as cover for withdrawing resources". And there's a perfect example of how this works in practice today's RNZ piece about Canterbury DHB's new useless building. The DHB had asked for half a billion dollars for two new hospital towers to replace old, earthquake damaged wards. Th government gave them a third of that, allowing them to build one building which would be half-empty:

Canterbury DHB has revealed it asked for $438m to rebuild its strained hospital but has had no choice but to settle for a third of that.


Board chair Sir John Hansen acknowledged the truncated five-storey Tower 3 won't keep pace with rising demand on beds but said that's all the government would pay for.

"The simple reality was, we could accept the $150m one or nothing."

That is only enough money to fit two floors out as wards, so three floors would be empty shells.

So Cantabrians will have to use old, run down hospital buildings for another decade, and their hospital won't be able to keep up with demand. But none of that is the Minister's problem. He can sit in his office, issuing press releases about how much money he's spending, and from the top of the tree it's all smiling monkeys looking up.

Isn't it time we ended this scam, and made the arsehole at the top actually responsible for their decisions?