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More DHBs face cash crisis

Hon Tony Ryall National Party Health Spokesman

3 February 2006

More DHBs face cash crisis

More District Health Boards are facing a cash crisis under the pressure of rising staffing costs and government priorities, says National's Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.

"More and more DHBs are heading into deficit this financial year. With half the financial year still to go, one DHB is saying 'the cash is running out'.

"Only a few months ago the Tairawhiti DHB was projecting a surplus for the 2005/06 financial year. Yet that DHB is now $2.2 million over budget with half the year still to go," says Mr Ryall.

Tairawhiti DHB chairwoman Ingrid Collins is reported as asking her chief financial controller during a meeting: 'Have we got enough money to last? It doesn't look like it'.

She was told by senior management: 'The cash is running out.'

"National understands that the financial performance of DHBs around the country is deteriorating rapidly," says Mr Ryall.

"The Government has badly miscalculated the effect its centralised wage bargaining has had on hospital budgets. The recent pay increases are costing DHBs far more than the Government has given them.

"Patients languishing on the waiting lists will have an even longer wait as DHBs try to balance their books.

"When December financials are released at DHB meetings around the country, the full extent of the deficit crisis will become clear. But I can tell you right now, its not going to be pretty, " says Mr Ryall.

ENDS

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