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DHB Deficits Reveal 'Mission Impossible'

$41 Million DHB Deficits Reveal 'Mission Impossible'

Heather Roy Wednesday, 23 August 2006 Press Releases - Health

Figures released today by Statistics New Zealand show that District Health Boards have overspent their budgets by $41.8 million in the year ending 30 June 2006. This reflects the impossible position that government has created for DHBs, says ACT Health Spokesman, Heather Roy.

"This result is $10 million worse than DHB deficits in the 2004/05 financial year and much worse - $28.4 million worse to be exact - than was originally predicted", Mrs Roy said.

"Former Health Minister Annette King stated in June 2005 that she and the Minister of Finance had 'agreed to a sector deficit of $13.4 million for 2005/06'.*

"This was never anything other than a flight of fancy on both their parts.

"District Health Boards have been given a 'Mission Impossible', caught between financial reality on one hand and demands from the Labour government on the other.

"Expectations by the public that all problems will be treated in the public system complete the impossibility of the situation", Mrs Roy said.

"Employee costs have risen 8.4% in this quarter alone. While money which could have funded elective surgery is diverted to areas such as increasing bureaucracy, tens of thousands of patients around the country are being culled from hospital waiting lists and sent back to their GPs.

"Treasury's concerns about the sustainability of health funding are well founded, and health is too important to face such uncertainty.

"Government's first priority in health should be ensuring that quality care is available, easy to access and affordable", Mrs Roy said.

Questions for Oral Answer, 7 June 2005

District Health Boards - Deficits

12. HEATHER ROY (ACT) to the Minister of Health: Does she stand by the reported assurance she gave the Health Committee in 2002 that she was aiming at a deficit that was "close to zero" within 3 years, and what is her explanation for the projection of district health board deficits of $100 million for 2005-06 and similar deficits for 2006-07?

Hon ANNETTE KING (Minister of Health): Yes, and this continues to be the Government's aim. The Minister of Finance and I have not agreed to projected deficits of $100 million for 2005-06 and similar deficits for 2006-07. We have agreed to a sector deficit of $13.4 million for 2005-06.


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