The Otago and Southland District Health Boards are expected to merge.
The boards have been working closely together with some members from each sitting on both. A merger is the logical next step.
A merger of the Otago and Southland district health boards would immediately save a minimum of $500,000, with savings of at least $1 million expected longer term as duplication of board and committee meetings was cut, ODHB chairman Errol Millar said last night.
It will also mean better service and some choice for patients, especially in Central Otago.
Cancer patients from Queenstown have to travel to Invercargill for chemotherapy treatment even though it could be provided at Clyde Hospital which is closer because Queenstown is covered by the SDHB and Clyde is under the ODHB. When the boards merge this sort of bureaucratic line drawing will stop.
The merge might persuade neighbouring boards in other areas to join forces too. Twenty one district health boards for a population of 4 million is administration overkill and a ridiculous waste of time, energy and money.