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District Health Board Deficit Falls

District Health Board Deficit Falls

The combined deficit of New Zealand's 21 district health boards (DHBs) was $5.1 million for the September 2003 quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand. This was a $38.0 million decrease on the $43.1 million deficit recorded in the June 2003 quarter, and is $27.8 million lower than the deficit in the September 2002 quarter. The smaller deficit was largely the result of a $64.9 million increase in funding from the Ministry of Health, with funding of $1,399.0 million for the September 2003 quarter. Total DHB revenue rose to $1,727.3 million.

Total DHB operating expenses rose to $1,732.3 million in the September 2003 quarter. The two major components of this expenditure are the direct provision of public hospital and health services (HHS), at $1,100.0 million, and the purchase of medical services from non-government providers and inter-DHB services, at $609.3 million. The operating expenses of the HHS providers were 3.5 percent higher than in the September 2002 quarter. The key expense item, employee costs, rose to $670.0 million, up 4.4 percent on the same quarter last year.

Total DHB investment in fixed assets in the latest quarter was $112.2 million. While this was down on the $135.8 million expended in the June 2003 quarter, investment remains at high levels. For the 12 months ended 30 September 2003, DHBs have spent $439.6 million on additions to fixed assets, up 20.6 percent on expenditure in the previous 12 months.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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