Te Fatu Ola | Health NZ’s decision to hold a closed board meeting has sparked strong criticism from the National Party, health advocates and others. They say that keeping the public out is against transparency and accountability, and that the DHB is the old district health board that he met once a month and was open to anyone to attend and observe. (DHB) is a serious and harmful deviation from the system.
Crown entity model case
Health NZ Chairman Rob Campbell has dismissed concerns, stressing the availability of minutes and the intention to hold media briefings at each meeting, urging all government agencies to do the same for good reason. pointed out that it employs Will the RNZ board open its meetings to the public? He asked The Morning Report and knew the answer would of course be no.
Rob Campbell is correct about the other boards. In the Crown Entity Model, the Board of Directors terminates the meeting and publishes the minutes in accordance with the information withheld for reasons of suspension under the Official Information Act. So should Health NZ operate differently? Should the public be allowed on the board? The answer from a public and administrative law perspective should be no. Hmm.
It is absolutely true that public health and the decisions Health NZ makes are public works. All New Zealanders are affected or will be affected by the Board’s decisions. But proponents of “open house” meetings confuse two very different kinds of entities. The old DHB no longer exists and the old system has no meaningful application or equivalent in the current Crown entity model. While there may have been advantages to public access to regional meetings attended by elected officials, I cannot say that the same advantages apply to the Board of Health NZ.
On the contrary, the negative impact of public access to Health NZ’s administration could greatly outweigh the benefits gained. Additionally, the highly regulated Crown Entity Model provides transparency and accountable governance in a different and perhaps more effective way than traditional DHB systems. It is also worth noting that the Paeola Act provides for the development of various health strategies and plans, including at the local level, and requires community involvement. It’s a situation of apples and pears.
There are still cases of public participation at the local level of decision-making. Health NZ’s CEO says this will continue to happen under the new model. But insisting on public meetings at the board level is a confusing debate at best and a mischievous debate at worst.
Come out with the old, go with the new
New Zealand’s 21-year-old health care structure was abolished from July this year, with the functions of 20 DHBs merged into Health NZ, the only body responsible for the day-to-day operations of the country’s health system. . After the DHB was found to be “too complex for a small country,” the health system overhaul aims to improve services and achieve equitable health outcomes through a more efficient and streamlined model. One of the key goals for ensuring access to healthcare is standardized services nationwide. In particular, the Te Aka Whai Ora | Māori Health Authority will work with Health NZ to directly outsource Māori-tailored health services.
In essence, comparing Heath NZ to the old DHB is like comparing the All Blacks to the Hurricanes. Health NZ are much bigger and play in a different league. This larger playing field entails a much higher level of commercial confidentiality and the need for confidentiality of information (for example, discussions may include confidential matters such as personal identities and procurement strategies). there is a possibility). It is also important to allow some degree of free and open discussion among board members as ideas are debated and developed (this is widely considered necessary to enable effective operation). accepted).
Previously, DBH held monthly public meetings and published agendas and documents online prior to the meetings. This was a DHB legal requirement focused on the openness and availability of information. It also reflected the fact that the DHB was made up of elected members from the local community and that problems were concentrated at the local level.
Health NZ is not a democratically elected board. This is intentionally set and done as a crown entity. Structurally, this allows Health NZ to operate independently of the central government while ensuring that it is directly accountable to the relevant Minister (now Andrew Little). Other state-owned companies, for example, Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), Waka Kotahi, and Kāinga Ora, all do not hold public board meetings or publicly call for them to do so.
Public accountability to public health agencies
Little backed Campbell’s decision, saying that the board’s status as a state-owned enterprise meant that it had no obligation to meet publicly rather than privately.
Meanwhile, National Party health spokesman Dr Shane Letty denounced the secrecy of the Health NZ Board, blaming the health system for lack of midwives, painful wait times for medical care, inadequate and earthquake-prone buildings. The current problem that plagues says: Public debate in public meetings.
Other critics argue that open meetings are critical to establishing and maintaining public confidence in the new system. The issue of trust is an interesting one. Confidence in all public institutions is now strained in New Zealand and elsewhere. Those participating in debates about New Zealand’s public institutions can influence public confidence by the drums they choose to beat. I understand that other state-owned companies hold board meetings without public galleries.
The conclusion is
Skepticism about the new superstructure undermines a valid argument that comparable organizations of similar size do not hold public board meetings. Moreover, it is debatable what impact holding private meetings actually has on transparency and accountability. An agenda was provided in advance and a summary provided after the board meeting, and Campbell and her CEO, Fepulea’i Margie Apa, held a 30-minute media briefing after each meeting to discuss what they had to say. provide a rough overview of and answer questions. Minutes are also published the month following each meeting. DHB meetings are rarely reported comprehensively, indicating that a new efficiency-focused approach is likely to be the best way to health NZ.