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Patient services first priority in health spending

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister of Health

10 June 2008 Media Statement

Patient services first priority in government health spending.

Minister of Health David Cunliffe said the Government was working with DHBs through the District Annual Plan process to reduce operating deficits without affecting patient services.

“District Health Boards are required to manage their budgets effectively and efficiently. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that their first priority is to their patients.”

Mr Cunliffe said a number of DHBs did have deficits and were working to resolve them, just as Auckland DHB had resolved its deficit issues.
“Six years ago Auckland DHB ran at a deficit of more than $66 million today it has resolved its deficit issues.”

He said this year’s budget had provided nearly $2 billion over four years in order to future proof health services for population growth and cost increases and had also provided financial incentives for DHBs to work together on cost saving initiatives.

“This funding allows DHBs to plan effectively for the future and also encourages them to work together on joint purchasing initiatives to improve their financial performance.”

“The more DHBs work together the more benefits there will in terms of strengthened regional networks of patient services and the more savings will be realised through joint purchasing.”

Mr Cunliffe said in the past nine years, elective surgery had increased; more people were able to access primary care and prescription medicines and over $1.3 billion had been invested in building and improving health infrastructure.

“The reality is New Zealanders have far better access to a range of health services today than they did 10 years ago.”

Mr Cunliffe said National had once again delivered a health press release, but had failed to offer any solutions. Nor had the National Party provided insight into whether it had developed a health policy.


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