Health sector: Results of the 2016/17 audits
Auditor-General’s report, Health sector: Results of the 2016/17 audits
The Auditor-General’s report Health sector: Results of the 2016/17 audits was presented to the House of Representatives today.
The performance of organisations providing health services, including district health boards (DHBs), is important for New Zealand’s economic and social well-being. In 2016/17, $16.22 billion was spent on health, making it the second largest area of government spending after social security and welfare.
In this report, we share our observations from the 2016/17 audits of DHBs and other entities in the health sector. It also discusses some of the findings from our performance audit work from the last year.
We found that financial sustainability continues to be a challenge for DHBs. The total deficit for all 20 DHBs increased significantly in 2016/17 and is expected to increase further in 2017/18. Continued financial pressure makes it difficult for DHBs to invest for the future. It also affects their resilience and their ability to make investments to deal with significant changes in demand.
In our audits of DHBs, we look at their control environments, particularly their financial and service performance systems and practice. DHBs generally have largely effective systems and controls in place, and these systems and controls are improving. Many DHBs have also improved their performance reporting in recent years, which is important for transparency and accountability. However, further improvements to performance reporting would help demonstrate the difference DHBs are making to the well-being of New Zealanders.