Media Statement - Ian Powell, ASMS Executive Director
24 June 2014
“The concerns being expressed about Health Benefits Limited in leaked letters and other documents from senior staff at district health boards will not be a surprise to senior doctors working in public hospitals,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).
“They’re being told many of the same things by their DHB managers privately.”
He was commenting on a document obtained by Radio New Zealand which likens Health Benefits Limited (HBL) to a Ponzi scheme and says it threatens the health system. The document was written by a senior manager at one of the DHBs and distributed to a handful of senior managers.
This follows a group letter from DHB chief financial officers, tabled in Parliament last week, expressing their lack of confidence in the programme.
Mr Powell says the leaking of documents is inevitable in the current environment of a lack of transparency and by risky top-down political initiatives.
“It’s very difficult for DHBs and senior staff to advise on risks of politically driven policies in the current climate, which discourages openness or disagreement. It’s a case of reaping what you sow – and it’s up to the Government to take the concerns raised seriously.”