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District Health Boards' Deficit Increases

District Health Boards' Deficit Increases

The hospital and health service (HHS) provider functions of New Zealand's 21 district health boards (DHBs) have recorded a combined seasonally adjusted operating deficit of $64.0 million in the December 2002 quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand. This represents a $17.2 million increase from the September 2002 quarterly deficit of $46.8 million, and a $9.9 million increase on the same quarter in the previous year. The deficit in the latest quarter was the net result of an increase in expenditure and a decrease in revenue.

Compared with the September 2002 quarter, total seasonally adjusted revenue fell $5.5 million or 0.5 percent to $1,014.3 million. However, revenue increased $59.3 million or 6.2 percent compared with the December 2001 quarter. Government revenue decreased in the December 2002 quarter by $4.9 million or 0.5 percent to $939.4 million. This was the first fall in government revenue since the September 2001 quarter. Medical charges and all other income decreased $1.2 million or 1.6 percent.

Total seasonally adjusted operating expenditure increased 1.1 percent in the latest quarter, up $11.7 million compared with the previous quarter. This was $69.2 million or 6.9 percent ahead of spending during the same quarter a year earlier. The increase in seasonally adjusted total operating expenditure was driven by a rise in employee costs of $13.9 million or 2.2 percent and depreciation, up $1.2 million or 2.6 percent. These increases were partly offset by a fall of $2.5 million or 0.7 percent in direct medical supplies and all other expenses.

The value of total assets rose 1.1 percent in the December 2002 quarter to $2,818.2 million, up from $2,787.1 million at the end of September 2002 quarter. The biggest contribution to the increase in total assets was a $48.8 million or 2.2 percent increase in fixed assets. Inventory levels also rose to $60.8 million, up $2.7 million on the September 2002 quarter. Investments, down $1.2 million, and the value of other current assets, down $19.1 million partly offset the increases. The increase in the value of the assets was more than matched by a rise in debt levels, up $45.6 million in the latest quarter to $1,905.3 million. Total debt was made up of current liabilities ($903.2 million), long-term loans ($942.9 million), and other term liabilities ($59.3 million). The debt to equity ratio that fell to 2.01 in the September 2002 quarter resumed its upward trend rising to 2.09 in the latest quarter.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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