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Minister’s nod to $4m DHB deficit

Board keen to advance ‘equity plans’.

The Hauora Tairawhiti annual plan for its 2020-2021 financial year has been approved by the Minister of Health with a deficit of $4 million.

Board chairwoman Kim Ngarimu said the approval was great news and the deficit meant the board could progress its “equity plans”.

Ms Ngarimu said she and chief executive Jim Green had met Toitu Tairawhiti, a collective of local iwi, in a preliminary meeting to outline the annual plan, and in particular, “equity contingency arrangements” and initiatives outside of the hospital such as taking specialised services out into the community “which we are enormously proud of”.

The annual plan notes four key areas of focus in the 2020-2021 year as agreed with the Ministry of Health — achieving equity, sustainability, the workforce, and collaboration with other health boards, iwi, the local four Maori providers and Manaaki Tairawhiti.

Mr Green, in the annual plan, said the document represented “our best opportunity yet to work with our staff, health community, iwi, strategic partners and the community at large to achieve greater hauora in Te Tairawhiti”.

“With the largest funding increase in the history of the health board, coupled with a redoubled focus on achieving equity of health outcomes for Maori and the wider population of our district, we have the determination and drive to make 20/21 a landmark year in the health of Tairawhiti people.”

The annual report said “the 2020/21 Vote Health funding advice has provided Hauora Tairawhiti with opportunities to move towards a sustainable outlook.

“Over the next three years the health board will move towards a break-even position while at the same time beginning an evidence- based process of investment planning.”

The plan’s financial performance summary says planned total income for the 2020-2021 year is $224.68 million, up from $209.23m in 2019-2020.

Planned total revenue for the next three years is $233.46m, $240.47m and $247.68m.

Those three years are projected to be break-even years.

The forecast deficit for last year, 2019-2020, is $11.75m.

The annual plan sets out four key ingredients to Hauora Tairawhiti achieving equity.

• Supporting iwi to take a leadership role.

• Enhancing understanding of equity.

• Questioning current disparities at every opportunity.

• Recognising that many whanau living in Tairawhiti do not have the opportunity which enables the full access to current health services.

“Improvements in Maori health remain the main driver for change within Tairawhiti,” the annual plan states.

The annual plan promises Hauora Tairawhiti will continue to strengthen systems to put Maori at the centre of processes.

Within the health sector, Hauora Tairawhiti and its partners have started a number of initiatives looking to bring wellbeing and equity to the population.

The main focus for 2020/21 is in the area of mental health and addiction services.

Hauora Tairawhiti will be placing the philosophies of lived experience and kaupapa Maori values at the centre of all new commissioned services.