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Labour breaks promise on health deficits

Paul Hutchison MP
National Party Health Spokesman

24 August 2005


Labour breaks promise on health deficits

National Party Health spokesman Paul Hutchison says despite record increases in health spending, Labour has been unable to deliver on its promise to end the deficit funding of health boards.

Figures out this week show ‘the total planned deficit for the financial year to June is $88.7M. The actual deficit is $15.2M. A one-off Government payment of $11.4m for asbestos removal as part of the redevelopment of Auckland City Hospital provides part of the explanation, but the difference is largely explained by under spending due to delays in putting in place new programmes in several DHBs.’ – DHB Statement, August 23.

New Zealanders must measure this result against Helen Clark’s own words:
‘The deficit funding of the public health sector has to stop. A Labour government will be looking to negotiate with our public health sector what we need to provide and the cost of providing it. We should fund a balanced budget for our public health services – not a deficit budget.’

“Given that we now have a waiting list of around 180,000, and DHBs are continuing to run deficits, most Kiwis are seeing first hand evidence of the productivity collapse in the health sector.

“It is scandalous that with enormous waiting lists for surgery around the country, and with huge unmet demand for mental health services, that the deficit is ‘largely explained by underspending in several DHBs’.

“It is also hard to believe the reality of the situation when recent board papers reveal Auckland DHB alone has an underlying deficit of $100 million.

“National is determined to get more money through to the frontline, where it will do the most good for the most people,” says Dr Hutchison.

ENDS

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