Regions hit with budget band aid

Nine of New Zealand’s District Health Boards look set to be big losers in next year’s funding round, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.

Treasury has advised the Government that District Health Boards need to trim almost $200 million from their 2015/16 budget.

“DHBs need an extra $400 million next year just to break even. Cabinet papers, however, warn they can expect between $250 million and $320 million.

“While the average increase across the country would be 2.8 per cent, Capital Coast, Canterbury, Counties, Hutt, Mid Central, Southern, Tairawhiti, West Coast and Whanganui regions already facing severe financial pressure, will get considerably less. Talk about a happy New Year; that is a band aid not a fix.

“This is not the first time DHBs have been asked to make savings. Health services are already stretched to the limit – even Treasury notes the financial strain DHBs are facing is considerable.

“At the same time staff are under increased pressure and more New Zealanders are going without health care even though they need it.

“Hospitals are facing massive challenges while dealing with an ever tighter budget and rising demand.

“It is time the Government reassessed the way funding is allocated and our health services are adequately resourced so they can continue to deliver the best possible patient care,” Annette King said.