The Health Minister has agreed to meet the authors of a scathing report on access to services at the Southern District Health Board (DHB).
In a scathing report on colonoscopy services, Christchurch general surgeon Phil Bagshaw said Otago and Southland have the highest rates of bowel cancer in the country, yet one of the lowest rates of colonoscopy procedures.
He said if the dysfunctional services at the Southern DHB weren't addressed, he'd call for a public inquiry.
- Southern DHB has highest rate of bowel cancer, lowest rate of colonoscopy procedures
- Southern District Health Board refuses colonoscopy test to a woman with bowel cancer symptoms
- 'Wide variations' in death rate following bowel cancer surgery across country should be investigated - report
Now Health Minister David Clark has agreed to meet with Bagshaw and the other authors. Bagshaw told Newshub on Thursday he doesn't have the confidence the DHB will permanently address the problems.
"I shall be appealing to his [Clark's] good-willed nature to help me in this difficult task.
"The issue is, we have no confidence the DHB is going to address the issues in any way that's permanent, and in the long term interests of the local community."
A meeting is scheduled for Monday. Clark believes the DHB has substantially lifted its performance; "It needed to, and I'm pleased to see progress," he said.
The DHB fronted the report last month, saying it would make changes, including dealing with warring staff.
"We're focussing on the things they can do straight away that make a difference," medical officer of health Nigel Miller said.
"Where we have let people down, we will have no hesitation in apologising."