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District Health Boards Report Operating Deficit

10:45am – 26 May 2006

District Health Boards Report Operating Deficit

The combined operating deficit of New Zealand's 21 district health boards (DHBs) was $12.5 million for the March 2006 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. This is lower than the deficit of $21.8 million in the December 2005 quarter, but in contrast with the March 2005 quarter operating surplus of $29.3 million.

Total DHB expenditure fell by $17.6 million, to $2,279.8 million, in the March 2006 quarter. The major expense components are the direct provision of public hospital and health services (HHS) ($1,301.7 million), and the purchase of medical services from non-government providers and inter-DHB services ($967.5 million). Total operating expenses of the HHS providers were 0.4 percent lower than in the

December 2005 quarter, but 8.7 percent higher when compared with the March 2005 quarter. Employee costs, the key expense item, were up 0.7 percent (to $835.6 million) compared with the December 2005 quarter. This rise in employee costs was more than offset by a fall in direct medical supplies and all other expenses.

Total DHB revenue fell to $2,267.3 million, mainly owing to other funding from government, with funding from the Ministry of Health increasing by only $0.9 million (to $1,900.6 million) compared with the December 2005 quarter.

Total DHB investment in fixed assets was $88.7 million in the March 2006 quarter, down 8.4 percent on the December 2005 quarter. For the year ended 31 March 2006, DHBs spent $367.5 million on additions to fixed assets, down 0.8 percent on the previous 12 months.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

ENDS

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