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Dramatic health changes are ‘bold’ and leave National in tricky spot, says 1 NEWS political reporter

The dramatic shakeup of the health sector is a “bold move” that exceeds any expectations, and it leaves National in a tricky spot, 1 NEWS political reporter Maiki Sherman says.

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Maiki Sherman says the announcement to cull the DHBs leaves National “in a tricky spot”. Source: 1 NEWS

The Government announced changes this morning including an end to district health boards in favour for a national organisation, as well as creating a new Māori Health Authority and a new public health agency.

Sherman says removing the DHBs was a bombshell no one saw coming.

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“This has been a bold move by the Labour Government, we all expected a major overhaul today but no one quite expected the bombshell in terms of those DHBs,” she said.

“Even Health Minister Andrew Little admitted he had gone further than those expectations.”

National leader Judith Collins says her party will reverse the restructuring of the health sector, but Sherman says it leaves the Opposition in a bind because many consider the changes necessary.

“While it [National] promising to reverse all of the changes announced today, we have spoken to a number of health professionals who do say that in order to fix this big problem in our health system we do need to see those big bold changes."

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Sherman said the Government would now have to determine how it will allocate the funding that had previously been split up among the 20 DHBs.

“Over the next 18 months it’s all about the planning and preparation phase, the Government is hoping to have all of the legislation signed off by the middle of next year,” she said.

“Government needs to determine how it will re-allocate all of that funding including how much it will go towards that Māori Health Authority.”