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Budget places Capital and Coast services at risk

CARE NOT CUTS

MEDIA RELEASE

Budget places Capital and Coast services at risk with multi-million shortfall

“Health Minister Tony Ryall has again failed to invest adequately in our nation's health with a Budget that will see Capital and Coast District Health Board continue to struggle,” said David Choat, Capital and Coast DHB member.

“We have perhaps the most precarious financial position of any large DHB and have been forced to make services cuts for longer than most. Our DHB is likely to be particularly hard hit by this latest round of underfunding.”

"Dr Bill Rosenberg, economist for the Council of Trade Unions, has for a number of years now been tracking health funding against what is needed to keep pace with rising costs and population changes. His conservative estimate this week was that DHBs needed a 3.2% funding increase in today's Budget just to stand still - let alone recover ground after four years of funding shortfalls.

"Capital and Coast received $644 million in Crown funding to provide services for our district this year. On the basis of Dr Rosenberg's figures, we would need another $21.5 million just to keep pace with an ageing population and rising costs.

"Yet Budget documents reveal that our increase will be only $17.5 million. This is, at best, $3 million short of that minimum threshold. Moreover, around $4 million of that additional funding is tagged to particular initiatives and programmes that will bring their own additional costs, so the true shortfall could be as much as $7 million.

"That is simply not good enough. The government says times are getting better, but it is still placing pressures on District Health Boards that seem calculated to force them to make further cuts to health services for vulnerable populations. We should be reinvesting in services that have already been cut in places like Newtown and Porirua, not making further reductions.

David Choat is speaking as an individual Board member and not on behalf of the Board as a whole. He was elected to the Board in 2010 and is standing for re-election to the Board this year as the candidate for the Labour Party.

ends

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