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Serious Financial Pressure on Health Boards

More Signs of Serious Financial Pressure on Health Boards

Confidential minutes of the District Health Boards New Zealand AGM reveal the Health Minister's two-faced approach to her portfolio, ACT Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"The Minister says one thing to the public but has a completely different message for health sector managers.

"Minutes which were written for attendees of the Annual General Meeting show the Health Minister admitted she was concerned that "very few" District Health Boards had managed to "live within a budget". In response to questions from the Hawkes Bay DHB which is losing "as much as $250,000 a month in this year's deficit", Annette King acknowledged the process for creating district annual plans "had not been a good process" and said the "Minister of Finance had been alarmed by the [district annual plans]".

"The Minister's honesty is remarkable. She is admitting what she has constantly refused to admit in public until now: the massive financial pressure on health boards has pushed them to breaking point. When criticised in public for cuts in healthcare provision, Ms King pins complete blame on local health boards. Yet behind closed doors she's prepared to admit that they have no other choice.

"The Health Minister also raised the matter of ring-fenced funding. She noted that although mental health funding was ring fended, she did "want to see progress on this issue". No wonder DHBs have been confused.

"If Ms King is prepared to be honest behind closed doors, she should own up in public. She must admit that increased financial pressure on health boards has made it impossible for these organisations to maintain an acceptable level of health services," Mrs Roy said.

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