'No confidence': Authors of scathing report into colonoscopy procedures doubt Southern DHB

Health Minister David Clark.
Health Minister David Clark. Photo credit: Newshub.

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.

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."