Greens demand investigation

00:39, Feb 19 2014

The Green Party is demanding an investigation into allegations of fraud involving millions of dollars from a dispute between South Island District Health Boards and South Link Health.

DHB chair Joe Butterfield was questioned in the Health Select Committee today about the allegations.

He confirmed the DHB had received legal advice in 2010 that fraud may have occurred.

In a statement released today, Green Party health spokesman Kevin Hague said he has written to the Auditor-General to request an investigation into the actions of the Southern DHB and the Minister and Ministry of Health, and will put it to the Minister of Health in Question Time today.

''The public needs to have confidence that health funds are actually being used for the intended purpose. There can be no confidence at all that this money - somewhere between $5.2 million and $15 million - has been used appropriately. 

''The Ministry also needs to explain why no action was taken when the DHB asked for its assistance in investigating and providing advice about what to do in this very serious situation.

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''The dispute dates back more than 10 years to when South Link Health held a contract that enabled it to use savings it achieved on pharmaceutical and laboratory testing budgets to provide additional patient services, provided that funders agreed.

The DHBs allege the money was instead spent in other ways and without permission.

Mr Butterfield could not be reached for comment this morning.

The Southland Times