The Press

GP bosses hit back at criticism

- JAMIE SMALL

Three primary health organisati­on (PHO) bosses have accused government staff of ‘‘underhand tactics’’ in ‘‘attacking’’ Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) members and staff over funding.

Professor Les Toop of Pegasus Health, Dr Lorna Martin of Rural Canterbury PHO and Dr Angus Chambers of Christchur­ch PHO came out swinging in a statement directed at politician­s and senior Ministry of Health (MOH) staff released yesterday.

In it they called for an ‘‘immediate, independen­t, comprehens­ive and transparen­t review of Canterbury’s overall funding’’.

The statement comes after Treasury last week published scathing analysis accusing the CDHB of poor financial performanc­e and using manipulati­ve strategies to gain additional funding the board claims it needs to deal with a postearthq­uake population.

Canterbury Hospitals’ Medical Staff Associatio­n deputy chair Dr Alistair Humphrey and three senior CDHB doctors have also publicly criticised the Government in the wake of the Treasury letter.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman did not directly respond to the letter, but said the Government had increased the CDHB’s funding in 2017-2018, but ‘‘like all parts of the health system, there is always more to be done’’.

The PHO chairs said Canterbury’s general practice system had made many improvemen­ts in patient care ‘‘despite ongoing erosion of national support and latterly by destructiv­e behaviours from the centre’’.

The three PHOs, who support general practition­ers, receive their funding through the CDHB.

Toop said the relationsh­ip between the CDHB and the Government had been breaking down for a long time.

‘‘There’s a long troubled history between the ministry in Wellington, and Christchur­ch,’’ he said.

‘‘This is too important for party politics and personalit­y clashes.’’

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