Most of Northland wouldn't know it but the Northland DHB, about three years ago formed a Consumer Council to assist with providing consumer focused health services to Northlanders and I am lucky enough to be the chairperson.
As per the front page of Wednesday's Northern Advocate, many Northlanders may also not know that OUR district health board will not receive nearly $8 million due to the Ministry of Health capping its population-based system for this financial year.
We are the only DHB in the country to suffer from that capping.
Funding is paid on the population within the DHB area. Northland has grown immensely and funding is just not keeping up and guest what, YOU the consumer are missing out. This is money to keep you well and you're not getting it.
And it's not the first time, we have been short changed for the past three years.
Contrary to previous media reports NDHB isn't overfunded but grossly underfunded, to the tune of $29m and the Ministry of Health knows it.
The council has the utmost sympathy for the board, CEO and staff who have to constantly "make do" with the funds given to them; these funding shortfalls have a very real effect on people's lives.
$29m is a lot of services not being provided.
We are lucky to have an amazing DHB who are trying to keep us healthier and safe but sadly trying to do it on less money than we are entitled to won't always bring the best results.
What can we do? I hate to say it but getting $29m just won't happen but we can fight for the $8m we are due to receive this financial year.
Please take the opportunity to talk to the many MPs in our area and ask what can they do to improve the health outcomes of Northlanders. Help us fight for what is ours.