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Health reforms creating record health deficit

Dr Lynda Scott National Health Spokesperson

14 October 2002

Labour health reforms creating record health deficit

Health Minister Annette King needs to justify why the combined district health board operating deficit has skyrocketed to $312 million in the last financial year when her own projections were that it would be about half that, says National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

"The Minister's poor grasp of health funding and lack of a plan to deal with the record deficit defy logic. Last month she told the health select committee that the deficit would be about $175 million.

"This record blow out is because of deficit increases at district health boards throughout the country.

"Where exactly is she taking health in New Zealand with such a high deficit? Without the $66 million funding included for Wellington's new hospital the deficit is still a record blow-out at $246 million, up from the $217 million projected in August.

"The Government, in blissful ignorance, has ordered boards to reduce their deficits to $80 million but the figures released today show that is impossible.

"Labour is running health services down. The Minister can't turn a blind eye for much longer. She set up the 21 district health boards but is not suggesting any changes to improve the situation so that patients get the care they need.

"It is Annette King's responsibility to explain the reason for this huge deficit and what she's doing about it," Dr Scott said.


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