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DHB deficits continue to crush health care

DHB deficits continue to crush health care

National's Health spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott says it's 'pure political spin' to argue that District Health Boards have posted better than planned financial results.

The consolidated results show total net deficits of about $185 million for the year.

"Let's not forget that the Finance Minister talked of deficits of $80 million for 2002-2003 in his Budget speech," says Dr Scott.

"The Health Minister subsequently told the Health select committee that the figure would be closer to $175-180 million.

"And what have we got? $185 million - that's more, not less than expected," she says.

"There is nothing encouraging about these figures. They just prove that Labour is continuing to mismanage the health system.

"These deficits come at a time when hospitals are cutting elective surgery and first specialist assessments. They simply cannot afford to invest in new equipment and New Zealanders are missing out on quality health care as a result.

"The 21 DHBs continue to carry the burden of stifling bureaucracy. Boards with elected members struggle to understand health care delivery governance and they fail to consider competitive tendering for services or public-private partnerships.

"The health system is not delivering. It's time Labour took its head out of the sand and realised this.

"The management and governance of health care needs a major shake-up to prevent the burden of a failing system falling on hardworking doctors and nurses," says Dr Scott.

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