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$300m DHB election year sweetener on its way

$300m DHB election year sweetener on its way, predicts Roy

Thursday 24 Feb 2005

Heather Roy - Press Releases - Health

ACT Health Spokesman Heather Roy today said the announcement that the combined District Health Board deficit has blown out by a further $15 million is consistent with the Budget update revelation that deficits are blowing out to $100 million this year, and more in out years.

"In 2001 Health Minister Annette King promised New Zealanders that DHB deficits would be eliminated by the end of this 2004/05 financial year," Mrs Roy said.

"Last year the deficits reduced to $68 million, but the deceit around funding that has occurred this year has seen the deficit trend reverse dramatically to a projected $100 million this year, and growing in 2005/06 and beyond".

Mrs Roy said DHBs had received their indicative funding for 2005/06, and needed to have their plans in by mid-March.

"I have had confirmation from many sources that DHBs are up in arms over the deficits they are facing next year.

"Labour is expected to fork out an extra $300 million of election year spending. But this will simply delay the cost growth dam from bursting budgets, and hugely deepen the already serious decline in hospital productivity".

Mrs Roy said DHBs are facing a raft of new costs. This includes the $300 million wage settlement for nurses, and the flow on costs that will follow for other health professionals, plus picking up the $20 million shortfall for the previously centrally-funded Disability Support.

"Having already poured over $2 billion extra into Health and its bureaucracy, and with waiting lists as bad as when they were elected, Labour's health policy has failed.

`Waiting lists will remain a disgrace until we better allow the private health sector to work more closely with the public health sector," said Mrs Roy.

ENDS


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