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Govt makes record health deficit

Dr Lynda Scott National Health Spokesperson

23 August 2002

Govt makes record health deficit - front up Annette King

Health Minister Annette King has reached the infamous goal of attaining record heights in hospital operating deficits with the highest level since records began, National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott said today.

Public Health Financial Statistics released today show the hospital and health service operating deficit has reached $217 million in the year to June 2002. This compares with the small deficit of $6 million across the country when National left office in 1999-2000.

"This Labour Government has lost control of the health system, allowing the operating deficit to increase from almost balancing to $217 million, and with an $85 million blow out in the last quarter alone," Dr Scott said.

"The underlying issues are not being addressed as the health system drifts in a rudderless ship.

"This high level of deficit is completely unacceptable and is simply not sustainable for the health service. The Government must come clean and tell New Zealanders what they plan to do.

"This big deficit blow-out is because Labour has mismanaged funding of the health system. If the salary increases, which have increased costs, went to better services, and doctors and nurses, rather than the bureaucrats the public would not be so critical of such a large deficit.

"Health boards around the country are already making cuts and it is the most vulnerable who suffer, like Timaru pensioner Ted Matthews who chopped his own fingers off and mental health patients in Queenstown," Dr Scott said.


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