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Praise For Health Shake-up Despite Job Losses

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Oct 22 NZPA - The health sector has welcomed significant changes to health administration although up to 500 jobs will be lost in the ministry and district health boards (DHBs).

Health Minister Tony Ryall announced yesterday a National Health Board (NHB) would be established within the Ministry of Health, overseeing IT, payroll, procurement and logistics.

Mr Ryall said the 21 DHBs were duplicating services and up to $700 million could be saved over the next five years when those services were rationalised under the NHB.

Attrition and voluntary redundancies are expected to cover most of the job losses.

New Zealand Medical Association chairman Peter Foley said it made "great sense" to rationalise back room services.

"There has been a need for a long time for much greater coordination and centralised policy," he said.

Association of Salaried Medical Specialists executive director Ian Powell said he was pleased the Government had chosen to place the NHB within the ministry, but was sceptical about the changes saving as much as $700 million over five years.

The Public Service Association was worried about job losses and said cutting administrative and clerical workers could mean doctors and nurses picking up their work.

The Labour Party said it supported any moves that improved efficiency and frontline services, although health spokeswoman Ruth Dyson thought it wasn't necessary to create a new bureaucracy.

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