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Health boards have to make $120m cuts

Roger Sowry National Health Spokesperson

24 May 2002

Health boards have to make $120m cuts

District health boards will have to find savings of another $120 million this year because there is not enough funding in the Budget, National Health Spokesperson Roger Sowry said today.

"The Government has stated it will only allow a combined deficit for district health boards of $80 million for the 2002-03 financial year, but boards have submitted plans projecting $200 million in deficits.

"The Government says the deficit forecasts for boards around the country are unacceptable and is discussing cost-containment measures with the boards. In other words, the Government is putting huge pressure on boards to cut costs.

"That means cuts to services and we already have nine boards who are either talking about service reductions or being told by the Minister to 'reconfigure' services' or find 'efficiency gains' (make cuts). These boards are:- Southland, Otago, West Coast, Capital and Coast, MidCentral, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay, Counties Manukau and Auckland.

"There is simply not enough money to meet cost growth, growth in demand for healthcare and wage expectations - more industrial action is looming in the health sector for that reason.

"Annette King says boards will make the 'necessary decisions based on available funding and the needs of local communities'. What happened to her big line that the buck stops with her in health? Annette King is passing the buck so that district health boards carry the can for the Government's underfunding of health," Mr Sowry said.


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