community heQueenstown NHB role 'surprise'

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The groups draft proposal for a charitable trust called the Wakatipu Community Health Board was to be tabled for the backing of the council in June, then the district health board on July 30.

Mr Hundleby said the panel proposal arose from an Invercargill meeting in May. Southern board senior management asked the national body to run an independent process to resolve the impasse over Wakatipu health services.

Wakatipu Health Governance Reference Group chairman Graeme Todd said the announcement yesterday the panel would consult the community and make a recommendation on the best primary and secondary heath care structure to the Southern DHB came as a surprise.

It would be holding a series of community and health-sector meetings and workshops, as well as drawing on information gathered already.

It will be led by immediate past-chairman of the New Zealand Medical Association, Dr Peter Foley, who will be joined by consumer advocate David Russell and an as yet unnamed emergency-medicine specialist.

Wakatipu Health Trust chairman Craig Benington said while there had not been time to review the announcement, were disappointed that it appears the Government has railroaded over the top of everything the communitys done to date.

community heQueenstown NHB role 'surprise',Yesterday, the national body announced an independent panel had been given until the end of July to find recommendations for the future set-up of Wakatipu health services.

The community wanted local governance, control of their own hospital and thats the path we were working down … It appears all that work has been ignored and [the NHB] may be starting again.

The Southern District Health Board (DHB) is expected to consider the recommendations at its August meeting and, if approved, introduce them from September.

National Health Board (NHB) deputy director Michael Hundleby yesterday said it would be a thorough but intense process.

Mr Butterfield said he was comfortable with the process.

The intervention certainly was at their invitation.

The news of the panel yesterday comes less than a week after the national body announced it was bringing in a team to carry out a systems assessment at Dunedin Hospital.

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Mr Todd was awaiting details and was confused as to what was expected from the reference group by the board.

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Although the controversy has centred on a so-called one-stop shop or Integrated Family Health Centre,community health services in one form or another, Mr Hundleby said the panel would be taking a fresh look at all the issues and the heQueenstown NHB role 'surprise'

The discussion took place just before Southern chief executive Brian Rousseau went on leave.

The National Health Boards entry into the Queenstown health services controversy has been greeted with confusion and disappointment by some in the community.

Ive just suggested we have that meeting, but it might be our last, Mr Todd said.

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While he had been advised by DHB chairman Joe Butterfield the DHB was seeking assistance from the Ministry of Health on its ongoing proposal for an integrated mily health centre, Mr Todd was very disappointed no-one alerted the reference group the DHB was looking to the ministry for a complete review.

April 6: The centre is criticised as a woolly concept and GPs deplore the lack of details and figures for the public to make decisions on the proposal, during a 500-strong community presentation organised by the DHB.

The reference group had a meeting scheduled on Monday.

Asked whether the involvement of the national board in two areas of board business could affect staff morale, Mr Butterfield said he hoped both projects were being portrayed to staff as positive moves.

March 3: Southern DHB unveils its one-stop shop integrated mily health centre.

Key dates: The Wakatipu health saga so r

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May 4: A draft proposal for a charitable trust called the Wakatipu Community Health Board is opened for public consultation.

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