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Public Hospital Costs Exceed $1 Billion

Public Health Financial Statistics: December 2001 Quarter

Seasonally adjusted operating costs incurred by the hospital and health service (HHS) provider function of New Zealand's 21 District Health Boards rose 2.5 percent or $24.9 million in the December 2001 quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand. Costs have been rising since the June 1998 quarter. This latest quarterly increase has taken the seasonally adjusted operating costs of the public hospitals to $1,008.0 million, the highest level since the series began in September 1993.

Total seasonally adjusted income rose 1.2 percent or $11.5 million over the same period, taking the level of revenue to $954.4 million. Increases in costs at a rate faster than rises in revenue resulted in a seasonally adjusted operating deficit for the HHS providers of $53.6 million in the December 2001 quarter, the largest quarterly deficit recorded since the June 1997 quarter.

Although revenue from Government rose only $3.1 million (or 0.4 percent) in the December 2001 quarter compared with the September 2001 quarter, it was up $32.9 million (or 3.9 percent) on the December 2000 quarter. The proportion of income from this source has increased from 90.6 percent of total funding in the December 2000 quarter to 91.7 percent of total funding in the December 2001 quarter.

By the end of December 2001, taxpayers' equity was $866.4 million, $52.8 million lower than at the end of December 2000. Total debt rose by $28.1 million during the December 2001 quarter, to a level of $1,708.4 million, $51.3 million higher than the same quarter a year earlier. This resulted in a higher debt to equity ratio, which moved from 1.80 at the end of December 2000 to 1.97 at the end of December 2001.

At the end of December 2001, total assets of the HHS providers were valued at $2,574.8 million, a decrease of $1.5 million on the value recorded at the end of December 2000.

The book value of fixed assets at the end of December 2001 was $2,126.4 million, an increase of 9.6 percent or $186.2 million compared with the value at the end of December 2000.

Brian Pink
Government Statistician

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