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DHBs: cuts risk safety.

CAPITAL AND Coast District Health Board's (DHB) attempts to save five per cent of its budget before the end of the financial year could put patient safety at risk, according to NZNO.

In an email to staff last month, DHB interim chief executive (CEO) Debbie Chin was reported in the Dominion Post as saying cuts would not "directly impact on the safety and care of our patients", but could include "further efficiencies" in clinical supply, overtime and a quick holiday for "non-frontline staff". But any cuts would not put patient safety at risk.

NZNO's DHB industrial adviser, Lesley Harry, said the situation was alarming. "Former DHB CEO Ken Whelan left his job in 2010 saying he had cut to the bone and was unable to make further cuts in expenditure without affecting patient care. Since then we have supported our members through a range of issues related to staffing levels and ability to provide quality patient care," Harry said.

NZNO is worried the potential risks to patients and staff will be significant if the DHB reaches its goal of having 1000 staff going on leave in a short space of time. It is also concerned about cut backs to clinical supplies. "The DHB is making a mistake by putting money at the centre of their decision-making. Patients need to be at the heart of every decision in the health system."

NZNO urged the DHB to find other ways to make savings. "These cuts are caused by government underfunding of DHBs," Harry said.

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Title Annotation:sector reports; District Health Board's budget cuts could risk patient safety
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Jun 1, 2014
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