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Labour's DHB funding structure failing health

Dr Lynda Scott
National Health Spokeswoman

24 February 2004

Labour's DHB funding structure failing health

Four years on and Labour's District Health Boards are still struggling financially despite the Government making a huge extra cash injection last year, says National's Health spokeswoman Dr Scott

The latest figures from the Ministry of Health show that in the 2003 December quarter the deficit of the 21 DHBs jumped from $5 million to $39 million despite an extra $147.7 million in funding from the Ministry of Health.

Dr Scott says these deficits are having devastating effects on patients, hospitals and staff.

"To tackle their deficits, DHBs are cutting surgery, delaying investment in capital and not increasing salaries, so that means staff and patients are missing out.

"Less and less money is reaching our doctors and nurses at the coalface and their patients. Instead, precious healthy money is being consumed by growing bureaucracy and mismanagement."

Dr Scott also says that though DHBs are supposedly responsible for managing community care, Primary Health Organisations are taking over that role, increasing an already overburdened health system with more bureaucracy.

"It's only wasting more health dollars unnecessarily."

Ends

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