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How bad will the red ink get at hospitals?

Tony Ryall MP
National Party Health Spokesman

6 August 2008

How bad will the red ink get at hospitals?

"Labour must reveal the true state of district health board finances as more and more DHBs plunge into the red," says National Party Health spokesman Tony Ryall .

"The Government is bracing itself for more than $110 million worth of DHB budget blowouts this year.

“Wellington’s hard-pressed district health board is sliding deeper and deeper into a financial black hole, with the confirmation of a $40 million deficit in the past financial year.

“And National understands the deficit is expected to top $70 million in the year ahead.

"Under Labour, the capital's DHB is free-falling into a financial black-hole. The deficits have been getting worse year in, year out.

"The Government needs to tell Wellingtonians what it will do about this. Already the capital is getting fewer specialist appointments and less elective surgery than last year, and that can only get worse.

"Helen Clark promised that hospitals would no longer be run with deficits, a promise she has broken.

In October 1997, Helen Clark as the then Opposition leader said: ‘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’.

"Other DHBs have also reported losses this month, including Canterbury, Taranaki, Whanganui and Hawke’s Bay. Many others are expected to follow. It's time the Government revealed the true state of the finances in health. To date, David Cunliffe has refused to release full disclosure of DHB finances" says Mr Ryall

"DHB financial failure typically comes from ineffective management and poor board leadership. The solution lies in a focus on value for money, accountability for results, and clinical leadership. There is extensive evidence that strong clinical involvement in a hospital leads to better care and stronger finances.

"Labour needs to realise 'not for profit' doesn't mean 'not for performance'."


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