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Hospitals reduce doctor numbers as financial strain continues

Hospitals around the country are cutting back on staff as they continue to grapple with multi-million dollar deficits, Labour’s health spokesperson Annette King says.

“Latest financial reports show DHBs are not hiring doctors or other health professionals in an attempt to save money.

 

“Despite Minister Jonathan Coleman’s continued denial that $1.7 billion has been wiped from Health in six years, there’s no disputing the fact that our health boards are short 158 doctors.

“These are medical professionals that have been budgeted for, but are not being hired because of the massive financial constraints the sector is facing.

“The pinch is also being felt among the wider health workforce, with a shortfall of 162 allied sector personnel, such as radiographers and physiotherapists.

“DHBs have already blown their budgets by $5 million, and are $24 million in the red just three months into the financial year. Forecasts put the year end deficit at close to $47 million.

“With a growing and ageing population reducing headcounts and not filling vacancies can only lead to one thing – and that’s a significant and potentially dangerous loss of services.

“New Zealanders shouldn’t be denied the care or the medicines they need. It’s past time  the Government reassessed its priorities and properly funded Health,” Annette King says.