Who are We?

Canterbury District Health Board (DHB) is the second largest DHB in New Zealand by both geographical area and population size.  We serve over 510,000 people (12% of the New Zealand population) covering 26,881 square kilometres and six Territorial Local Authorities.

Canterbury DHB is the largest employer in the South Island, employing 9,000 people across our services.  Almost the same number of people are employed delivering health and disability services across the rest of the Canterbury health system, and are funded either directly or indirectly by the DHB.

Our vision is a Canterbury health system that keeps people healthy and well in their own homes – a system providing the right care and support, to the right person, at the right time, in the right place.

At its core, our vision is centred on everyone working together to do the right thing for the patient and the right thing for the system.  We are achieving this by adopting a ‘whole of system’ approach to health care that results in more services that support people to stay well, highly capable primary and community providers delivering services closer to home, and specialist services freed-up to provide timely treatment for people who require more complex care.

Because of our size, the Canterbury DHB provides an extensive range of highly specialised and complex services.  While our responsibility is primarily for our own population, we provide many tertiary level services on a regional basis to people referred from other DHBs where these more specialised services are not available.

The specialist services we provide regionally include: brain injury rehabilitation; eating disorder services; child and youth inpatient mental health; forensic services; foetal medicine; cervical cytology; oncology; paediatric neurology, surgery and respiratory services; specialist diabetes services; neonatal transport; cardiothoracic surgery; gastroenterology; neurosurgery; plastic surgery; haematology/oncology; and ophthalmology.

There are some specialist services which Canterbury provides on a national or semi-national basis.  These include: endocrinology; paediatric oncology; spinal injury services; and laboratory services.

Canterbury also provides regional public health services on behalf of the West Coast and South Canterbury DHBs, overall covering the largest geographic area of any public health service in the country.

Canterbury has a longstanding relationship with the West Coast DHB.  This has recently been cemented by formal arrangements that have enabled closer clinical collaboration and joint ‘back office’ service provision.  As part of these formal arrangements, Canterbury and the West Coast now share senior clinical and management expertise including: a joint Chief Executive, Executive Director of Allied Health, Clinical Director of Mental Health, Senior Medical Officers as well as joint project, human resources and information support.

Formalising our collaboration has allowed us to actively plan the assistance and services we provide to the West Coast and to build the most appropriate workforce and infrastructure in both locations.  A number of training and secondment opportunities also support the development of an experienced and sustainable workforce in both regions.

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