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DHBs’ big budget blowout

New Zealand’s District Health Boards are now facing a budget deficit of nearly $90 million dollars, a significant blowout on what was forecast, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.

“Labour believes health funding must grow to avoid further cuts to the sector. Instead, this visionless Government seems content to allow death by a 1000 ‘service reductions’ with stretched DHB funding putting further stress on an already stretched health workforce.

“Add into this the fact DHBs will be responsible for $11 million of funding under the new Pharmac spending programme, and it’s clear that these financial strains are only going to get worse.

“The Government’s own predicted budget deficit for the DHBs this financial year was $59 million. Eleven DHBs are now in a deficit hole.

“Canterbury and Capital and Coast are among the worst but the smaller DHBs like Northland and Wairarapa are also struggling.

“Northland says its having to spend more money with the growth in cancer treatment and the Wairarapa is facing significant cost increases due to mental health.

“The latest Treasury report on DHBs’ financial performance believes that some DHBs are underfunding repairs and maintenance to help balance their books.

“The Government is facing the consequences of a $1.7 billion financial hole that has developed over the last six years. Minister you have to act,” says David Clark.