New figures from the Ministry of Health show 12 out of 20 district health boards have not been fully funded this year to cope with the aging population, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.
“The Ministry’s own figures to the Health Select Committee show that – as part of $1.7 billion of Government cuts to the sector over the past six years – DHBs are not getting enough money to meet the costs of New Zealand’s growing elderly population.
“Canterbury DHB is bearing the brunt of this underfunding, receiving $50 million less than what they need to meet their population costs. They are already being forced to cut funding from other areas to pay for the shortfall in mental health services.
“Some DHBs are having to cap the number of nurses and doctors because there is not enough funding in spite of a growing need for services.
“Jonathan Coleman claims this year’s Budget ‘pretty much’ covers cost pressures; that’s an inventive way of admitting to a spending cut, if ever I’ve heard one.
“The Minister has admitted in The Listener that DHBs are going to have to absorb record pressures this year. Already across the country, DHBs are desperately trying to find ways to remain financially sustainable.
“Jonathan Coleman keeps sending in consultants to blame the DHBs for the Government’s underfunding. He needs to take responsibility and fund district health boards to stop further cuts and loss of services,” Annette King says.