Why Canterbury's health system is doubling down on its drive for change

Foot still down: Canterbury DHB boss, David Meates, says there's no chance of a let-up yet.

Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) chief executive David Meates is in no doubt. His health system is doing world-leading things.

Even if at times, he grins – blame the confusion and politics of having also to run an earthquake recovery these past eight years – that fact has felt a little unappreciated up in Wellington.

Since Meates arrived in 2009, CDHB has been embarked on its Vision 2020 health reforms, a revolutionary "wellness-centred" approach to public health delivery.

The aim is nothing less than a complete organisational transformation.

Through the seamless integration of hospital and community services, an increasing focus on preventative interventions, and letting staff lead the redesign of the system, CDHB has managed to slash runaway health spending in the region.

Just one example, Meates says, is Canterbury gets by with 30 per cent fewer hospital admissions than the rest of the country because its GPs are encouraged to do minor surgeries and community nursing teams manage patients in their own homes.

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CDHB David Meates

Posted on behalf of Stuff reporter John McCrone

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Anna Arrol

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