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DHB deficit blowouts greet new Health Minister

Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health Minister of State Services

9 December 2008

DHB deficit blowouts greet new Health Minister

A 40 per cent blow out in District Health Board deficits to over $150 million have been revealed by Health Minister Tony Ryall.

The outgoing Labour government had provided for DHB deficits totalling $111 million.

Mr Ryall said, "I was aware that DHB's financial positions were not as accurate as they should have been. One of my first actions as Minister was to write personally to all 21 Board chairs requiring an accurate and urgent statement of their likely full year financial results."

"This has revealed a blowout of over $40 million from $111 million to over $150 million for the 2008/09 financial year.

"Worse, around $250 million of capital requests from DHBs cannot be funded this year and there is another $400 million requested next year. Only a small percentage of this has been provided for by the previous government."

The Minister addressed the 21 DHB chairs at a meeting on 8 December to confirm the serious financial situation, and to make very clear the government's priorities in Vote Health.

He also made it clear that he is determined to reduce bureaucracy.

A reflection of the government's commitment that health is a priority, the new Minister has confirmed the $750 million spending track for each of the next three years is protected despite the serious fiscal situation.

Mr Ryall said, "Chairs will be held accountable for the performance of their Boards, including the financial performance."

ENDS

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