SDHB priorities blasted

Southern District Health Board bosses are putting their need for propaganda before patients, the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists says.

Union executive director Ian Powell made the comment yesterday in response to news SDHB's communications, marketing and advertising spending had more than doubled, from $159,000 in 2011 to $445,000 in 2013.

''On the one hand, spending on its media machine, which includes providing propaganda to support the views of the hierarchy of the DHB, is doubled.

''On the other hand, this same hierarchy cuts 50 bed numbers for financial reasons, cuts nurse training, and privatises the fertility service. This is disgraceful.''

He said Health Minister Tony Ryall talked of shifting resources from the ''back room'' to the ''front line'', yet one of his largest DHBs was shifting resources from the front line to its public relations.

Chief executive Carole Heatly told the ODT last week communication was ''crucial''.

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