Christchurch hospital funding debacle

Nine to ten years after the Christchurch earthquakes things are looking dire for Christchurch and Canterbury health care.

Stuff: Staff shortage at $525 million dollar yet-to-open Christchurch hospital

A decision not to open parts of Christchurch Hospital’s new emergency department (ED) due to financial constraints has been labelled “beyond embarrassing”.

Stuff: New Christchurch Hospital car park expected to be 1000 short of what is needed

A new car park being planned for Christchurch Hospital is expected to provide a further 450 spaces – still almost 1000 short of what experts feel is needed.

Years of inadequate facilities around the central city hospital have seen staff threatened with fines for parking on nearby Hagley Park, medics camping out in their cars to secure spots and nursing staff attacked at night during lengthy walks back to where they have parked.

RNZ: Christchurch hospital staff upset by delays to opening of children’s units

Dr Clare Doocey is upset that hospital emergency care for children in Christchurch will not be moving into a brand new, purpose-built facility.

The new $500m Hagley hospital block has been built with dedicated units for children within the emergency department and intensive care.

But financial troubles at the DHB mean children will still in most cases have to be treated alongside adults, with three units at the block set to be mostly unstaffed.

RNZ: Warning Christchurch Hospital funding woes will put pressure on ICU and elective surgery

The head of intensive care at Christchurch Hospital is warning some surgery for children and adults will have to be put off because of funding woes.

The Canterbury District Health Board says it is not reducing any services.

However, it has run out of money to fully operate three units at its brand new Hagley block.

One of the three services being curtailed is Canterbury’s first-ever dedicated children’s intensive care unit (ICU) (in addition, a specialised children’s unit in the Emergency Department, and an Emergency Observation unit for all ages also face unexpected constraints).

ODT/RNZ: Management exodus: What’s going on at the Canterbury DHB?

There have been five shock resignations from the top levels at the Canterbury and West Coast DHB in just one month.

The Detail talks to former Press reporter Oliver Lewis about the reasons behind the executive management resignations and why the rest of New Zealand should care.

The first to go was the chief people officer Michael Frampton in July, but this month the exodus really started.

In three consecutive days from August 3, the DHB’s planning, funding and decision support executive director Carolyn Gullery, chief executive David Meates and the chief financial officer Justine White, all resigned.

Last Friday the chief medical officer Sue Nightingale – who’s the leader of the region’s Covid-19 response – quit.

“I don’t really know if you can look at that and say that is a coincidence,” says Lewis.

“As the senior doctor’s union has pointed out, it looks more like an implosion and there has been…serious concerns about the relationship between the board and the executive management team.”

ODT: Departing CDHB boss given guard of honour outside hospital

Outgoing Canterbury and West Coast district health board boss David Meates was given a guard of honour by Christchurch Hospital staff today.

Meates resigned as chief executive last month, triggering an outpouring of tributes. Staff applauded him again today as he walked out of the CDHB offices.

He has been chief executive of the CDHB since 2009, and led the region’s health response to both the earthquakes and the March 15 terrorist attack.

He has also clashed with Ministry of Health officials to advocate over funding and facilities. It is a tumultuous period for the CDHB, which is under pressure to address its mounting deficit that reached roughly $180 million in 2019-20.

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  1. Duker

     /  16th September 2020

    “When the $463 million Christchurch Hospital redevelopment project was signed off by Cabinet in 2012, it promised 92 more beds.” – May2017

    It was supposed to open in 2018 but ‘contractor delays means its 2020

    And the reason for the delays
    “”Approximately 8000 minor passive fire protection defects were found as part of the quality assurance process, the vast majority of which are now fixed.”

    The hospital’s plumbing caused major problems, and subcontractors were forced to go back and redo substandard work.”

    So Christchurch was given the cabinet go ahead back in 2012 by National but ends up taking 8 years.
    Unfortunately its a common situation for major projects to be delayed both in the design and later in the finishing stage.
    Theres airports and hospitals in Europe that are many years overdue from the ‘small things’ like plumbing, electrical and fire protection.

  2. Duker

     /  16th September 2020

    The other side of the DHB poor performance is that its been a financial shambles for some time

    Levy told Stuff he and the board had not taken an adversarial approach but had tried to work with management on a plan to rein in spending.
    “The reality is the finances are in terrible shape,” he said.
    “There has been probably less control over spending than there should have been, and if only someone had got onto this earlier it would be a smaller problem to solve than it is now.”
    Board documents from before his appointment showed “little recognition of the gravity of the financial issue”.
    Although management staff produced a draft savings plan, they gave the board little opportunity to contribute to its development, Levy said.
    I’ve been on 24 boards, chairman of 14, I had not seen this way of working before – it puts the board in a very difficult position because the board has to make a decision with inadequate information.”
    Fundamental differences of opinion about how much of the deficit was within management’s ability to control made the process “difficult”.
    Levy said more than 50 per cent of the deficit was the result of operational overspending – primarily on staffing costs

    “Levy said there were “lots of ways” to cut spending without affecting services by “changing what you do, how you do it and how well you do it – and trying new things”.

    • John J Harrison

       /  16th September 2020

      Duker, more unsuccessful deflection.
      The Labour appointed board are primarily responsible for the utter dysfunction with long serving hospital specialists.
      The board, as with Labour, could not run a bath.

      • Well, they could, but they’d forget to put the plug in.

      • Duker

         /  16th September 2020

        “The Labour appointed board are primarily responsible for the utter…”
        been like that for some time, the delays to the new building completion are because it was started around 2012 and was supposed to be open in 2018.
        We have seen with the Fletchers built projects in central Christchurch their whole building fitout organisation was incompetent and a shambles ( often project managers come here form overseas and dissapear back there)
        This building was Australian CPB – formerly Leighton Contractors from Australia, they are behind the big delays on the Transmission Gully motorway project , again using imported staff, some of which are high priced ‘fly in fly out’ , when Wellington isnt some tiny town in the outback desert

        • John J Harrison

           /  16th September 2020

          Duker, you never learn, do you ?
          We are talking about the utter dysfunctional relationship between the Labour appointed board and the loyal, hard working specialists.
          The specialists have departed in droves because the Labour appointed board are driven by ideologues who put the Labour Party first and the health of Cantabrians last.

          • Duker

             /  16th September 2020

            DHBs are elected and a only few are appointed by Government.

            The Christchurch DHB has had dysfunctional managemnt for years who let things slide especially under national appointee Chairman and ex foundry worker Mark Solomon.
            Equal dysfunction at Waikato DHB under ex nat Mp and appointed Chairman

            See a pattern there ?

            • John J Harrison

               /  16th September 2020

              Duker, yes some members are elected.
              But Labour SELECTS the Chair and other board members.
              Not on professionalism but on race and sex.
              This was made patently clear by Clarke and he achieved Labour’s aims prior to his “ resignation.”
              Admittedly National did the same thing when in office but it was done with professionalism and not on a quota system that Labour have imposed.
              With the predictable and disastrous results.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  16th September 2020

          Fletchers began life as a corporate partner with the first Labour Government building state housing and has been hand in glove with big Government ever since. Labour invented crony capitalism and perfected it with import licensing protectionism.

          • Duker

             /  16th September 2020

            NZ had to restrict imports from the 30s to the 70s ( it was a bi partisan issue) because our agricultural economy couldnt afford an avalanche of consumer items
            This is why we ended up with our own factories ‘assembling, cars TVs washing machines, making clothes, shoes ,every day items.
            The other upside was true full employment, I bet your parents had full employment throught out their working life ( after the war) because import licensing meant there was allways a demand for labour.
            Property speculators and flippers were practically non existant because home lending was limited usually only to depositors for a home they would live in.

            Look it up economic autarky was very common economic approach in that era of steady economic growth and low employment.


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