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District Health Board Deficit Increases

District Health Board Deficit Increases

The combined deficit of New Zealand's 21 district health boards (DHBs) was $39.3 million for the December 2003 quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand. This was a $34.2 million increase on the $5.1 million deficit recorded in the September 2003 quarter, and is $23.4 million lower than the deficit in the December 2002 quarter.

Total DHB revenue rose to $1,888.1 million, with funding from the Ministry of Health increasing by $147.7 million to $1,546.7 million. DHB expenses lifted by $195.1 million to $1,927.4 million in the December 2003 quarter. The two major components of this expenditure are the direct provision of public hospital and health services (HHS), at $1,127.5 million, and the purchase of medical services from non-government providers and inter-DHB services, at $773.3 million. The total expenses of the HHS providers were 5.0 percent higher than in the December 2002 quarter.

Employee costs, the key expense item, rose to $691.5 million, up 5.5 percent on the previous December quarter.

Total DHB investment in fixed assets was $103.5 million in the December 2003 quarter, down on the $112.2 million spent in the previous quarter. For the 12 months ended 31 December 2003, DHBs have spent $440.3 million on additions to fixed assets, up 19.0 percent on expenditure in the previous 12 months.

Brian Pink Government Statistician

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