Southern DHB’s rising wage invoice below scrutiny

New Southern District Health Board chairperson Dave Cull says achieving financial stability is the board's number one priority.


New Southern District Well being Board chairperson Dave Cull says attaining monetary stability is the board’s primary precedence.

The Southern District Well being board is conducting a assessment of its remuneration coverage for senior medical officers. 

This comes after the board overshot its employees price range by $55.four million previously monetary yr. 

New board chairman Dave Cull stated chief govt Chris Fleming introduced the assessment simply earlier than Christmas. 

The assessment would guarantee “fairness and consistency throughout the board,” however the Southern DHB would additionally must account for its ballooning wage invoice, Cull stated.

The board is paying increased salaries for fewer clinicians per capita than different district well being boards, he stated.

“That must be defined.”

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Whereas $34.1 million of the additional spending might be attributed to Vacation Act compliance, the invoice was nonetheless $20 million greater than the board was anticipating to pay for wages. 

The Southern DHB has blamed wage will increase carried out after strikes for the sudden prices.

The Ministry has already confirmed it is going to give the Southern DHB extra money to compensate for the economic motion, he stated. 

However the board has come below hearth for rising employees prices earlier than – particularly for the rising variety of six-figure salaries on its books. 

In response to its 2018/2019 monetary report launched in December, 652 of the Southern DHB’s 4879 employees members now earn greater than $110, 000 a yr. That is up from 537 employees members within the earlier monetary yr. 

This quantity contains chief govt Fleming’s wage, which is available in at between $540 and $550,000. 

The best earner takes dwelling between $570 and $580,000. 

The remuneration assessment comes after clear instruction handed all the way down to the newly elected board from Well being Minister David Clark. 

Their primary precedence needs to be discovering a means for the Southern District Well being Board to succeed in monetary stability. 

The brand new board took over from a commissioner group in the beginning of December.

It inherited a deficit of $89 million – double the quantity that the commissioners have been supposed to repair once they have been appointed in 2015.

The brand new board have now had an opportunity to fulfill one another correctly for the primary time and Cull’s had a non-public assembly with the Southern DHB’s finance group to get an summary of the previous few months. 

Cull stated they will want dependable price range projections earlier than they’ll beginning taking a look at methods to chop prices. 

He added that the largest problem dealing with the board is guaranteeing it nonetheless follows its mandate of “offering the perfect care we will.”

“I would not wish to underestimate that problem, but it surely goes hand in hand with monetary challenges,” Cull stated.  

As soon as they begin planning, the board will take a whole-system strategy, which incorporates GPs and first care, to have a look at methods to streamline the Southern DHB, Cull stated. 

Creating an emergency room linked to a normal apply for minor emergencies, for instance, would take stress off Southland Hospital’s busy emergency division. Outpatient companies may be handed on to normal practices or allied well being companies, he added. 

“These are the sorts of conversations we should be having,” Cull stated.