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Lab tests budget blows out to $75million

Roger Sowry National Health Spokesperson

18 July 2001

District Health Boards around the country concerned about a $38 million budget blow out on demand driver expenditure such as laboratory tests reported today should be even more concerned because the blow out is actually $75 million, National's Health spokesperson Roger Sowry said today.

"We've had media reports that the costs have blown out to between $38 million and $42 million but last week boards were told by the District Health Boards New Zealand it was actually $75 million. How many more times is the figure going to grow?

"Health Minister Annette King is not only drastically underfunding boards around the country, putting their services at risk, but she is now expecting them to foot the bill for this huge budget blow out.

"Boards don't accept that they should be responsible for demand driven risk where there is a high likelihood of deficit. Counties Manukau in particular has been outspoken to the Ministry of Health about this.

"The Health Ministry has usually paid the overrun on these costs. Now this is being saddled on boards who are at the same time being asked to make 'efficiency gains' or cuts because they can't provide the services necessary to communities.

"This extra cost is another blow to the DHBs already struggling to manage within capped budgets. The Minister's asked them to find efficiencies that aren't even there and now they have to wear the costs of demand driven expenditure," Mr Sowry said.

Ends

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