Jobs may be going from the Southern District Health Board
under the proposed implementation of a national programme.
Health Benefits Ltd yesterday released details of its
proposal, which was expected to save district health boards
$500 million over the next decade by creating a single system
for buying and distributing medical equipment.
SDHB chief executive Carole Heatly said the board welcomed
the opportunity to redistribute resources ''from the back
office to the front line''.
She said 49 SDHB staff were affected by the proposal and were
''While these staff are affected, it is not known how many
would lose roles should the proposal be successful, as anyone
[whose position] is disestablished has opportunities to apply
for newly-created roles or other positions within the DHB,''
Ms Heatly said the proposal was intended to save the health
sector money through collective purchasing and collective
provision of administration services.
''These savings can then be used by DHBs to provide more
clinical services and this would benefit the entire
community. During the past five years we have seen an
additional 58 doctors employed by Southern DHB and an
additional 130 nurses.
''This has improved our performance as a health provider and
we would welcome the opportunity to be able to redistribute
even more resources from the back office to the front line,''
The finance, procurement and supply chain (FPSC) programme
would result in 13 fewer jobs nationwide.
The country's 20 DHBs would retain 146 fulltime supply chain
positions, and there would be 280 finance, procurement and
supply chain positions spread across regional centres.
Nationally, 439 positions were affected.
A Health Benefits spokesman said a large variety of options
throughout the country were being consulted on and it was not
appropriate for the company to speculate about the impact on
any single district health board or region.
''Most roles disestablished in one place will be replaced by
roles elsewhere, many of which will be located regionally,''
The vast majority of benefits of the programme did not come
from reducing staff costs, but from giving DHBs the tools and
specialists to combine purchasing power and better manage
medical stock levels, the spokesman said.
A national catalogue and single financial system for
purchasing goods and services would be established.
''All district health boards, including Southern, will
benefit from this, with half a billion dollars being
available to reinvest back into supporting front-line health
services over the next 10 years,'' the spokesman said.
Health Benefits chief executive Nigel Wilkinson said DHBs
spent $1.3 billion each year buying goods and services
ranging from cotton wool buds to hospital beds, but there was
no single catalogue of products or single system for the
''By working together DHBs can reduce wastage of medical
supplies, improve the distribution of stock between DHBs,
eliminate inefficiencies and enhance the way they manage
emergency supplies,'' he said.
Implementation of the programme would start next year.