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Minister, it’s time to listen to the Auditor General

Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman needs to listen to the independent advice of the Auditor General and review the capital charge system imposed on District Health Boards, says Labour’ Health Spokesperson Annette King. 

“The capital charge on DHBs has been criticised by the Auditor General as a bureaucratic burden. The charge is levied by the Government on DHB’s borrowing from the Crown.

“The Auditor General says she is unclear of what is being achieved by the charge in the health sector and says she suspects that the money and time on the charge could be better spent. 

“She went on to say that, as a result of these charges DHBs face added financial management pressures. 

“At present, DHBs are paying nearly $180 million in capital charges according to the Auditor General. 

“A reform of this funding system is imperative once the final figures on District Health Board deficits are revealed later this month as deficits are ballooning. 

“Jonathan Coleman has already signalled they will be around $60 million in the red. The original Budget deficit was less than $20 million. 

“Four DHBs are already under intensive monitoring over their financial performance and a further four are on performance watch. The health system is still suffering under the burden of a $1.7 billion dollar cut due to inflation and the pressure of an ageing population. 

“Jonathan Coleman must sort out this financial rats’ nest of health funding. Around the world capital charges have been abolished on health funding and the Government must set up an urgent review into the funding of the health system,” says Annette King.