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DHB Blowout Due To Labour Double-Speak

DHB Blowout Due To Labour Double-Speak

Wednesday 3 Mar 2004 Heather Roy Press Releases -- Health

Christchurch Hospital's multi-million dollar budget blowout - and the resulting threats of service cuts - is the direct result of Health Minister Annette King's double-speak, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"Most of this blowout is due to staffing costs, including four percent salary rises - yet Official Information Act papers show District Health Boards are only funded for wage rises of 2.5 percent," Mrs Roy said.

"This, and other blowouts, are entirely predictable - and often not the fault of the actual DHBs. Ms King sits in her Wellington office and decrees that DHBs will live within their budgets without cutting services - this, of course, is physically impossible.

"Two years ago, Canterbury DHB ran a $23 million deficit. In the 2002/03 financial year this dropped to $10 million and, this year, it was supposed to break even. Now it is looking at radical ways to stop a $4 million blowout.

"This is a direct result of Labour's two-faced dealings with DHBs and health professionals. On the one hand she supports nurses - agreeing that they are not paid enough and encouraging them to fight for higher salaries. But, on the other hand, she refuses to give DHBs the money to pay nurses more and demands that DHBs survive on what they have.

"There is only so much fat within the health system. Once this is trimmed, it is services that must go - and patients are the ones to suffer. Canterbury DHB is not alone in this. I have long predicted that we will see more DHB budget blowouts - this case will be only the first of many throughout the country," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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