Health Minister and Associate Minister encouraged by co-operation between Bay of Plenty CHEsAssociate Minister of Health
Health Minister Bill English and Associate Health Minister, Tuariki Delamere, said today they hoped to respond to a proposal for the merger of Lakeland Health and Eastbay Health in the next month.
The Ministers emphasised a merger is one of the options being considered, but a decision was still several weeks away.
The Ministers said they were encouraged by Lakeland Health and Eastbay Health's co-operation in finding the best way to provide quality health care for the people of their region.
The Ministers' remarks came after the presentation of a report from a joint Eastbay/Lakeland Working Group. Six weeks ago the Group was asked to provide options for ensuring the clinical and financial sustainability of health services in the region.
The Working Group told the Ministers a merger of the two CHEs, now based in Rotorua and Whakatane, would maintain the clinical viability of services in the region. In other words, patients could be assured they were in a safe environment when undergoing surgery.
The Working Group's report said a merger would also significantly reduce operational and administration costs.
The Group emphasised its recommendation is based on what is currently known about what services Midland Health, the region's health funder, is proposing to fund.
The Ministers thanked the Working Group for its efforts. They noted that although they had been sceptical about the benefits of a merger, they were pleased the working co-operation between the two groups had clearly been demonstrated.
The Ministers have requested further investigations of options for the provision of surgical services in the region.
"It is important that we maintain the momentum generated by the report and that we provide the people of the Rotorua and eastern Bay of Plenty with some certainty about the quality and direction of their health services," Mr English said.
"We are well aware of the sentiments of the community," the Ministers said.
"We will discuss the report with our Government colleagues and officials. We expect to be able to respond to the respective Boards of Eastbay Health and Lakeland Health within a month," the Ministers said.