Waikato DHB has today described what is probably happening in all DHBs right now as they try to fit new government directives into their baseline funding, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Maryan Street.
“National is requiring DHBs to do more and more with the money they are given,” Maryan Street said.
“This morning, for example, we heard that the bill to Waikato DHB for KiwiSaver contributions in $3.2million. That used to be covered by the Government out of Crown Core Accounts. Now the DHB has to pick it up without any provisioning for it.
“What will happen when Tony Ryall wants to make good on his promise before the election of free after hours care for under-6s?
“Will there be an additional appropriation to DHBs for that to happen or will they be required to fund it out of existing resources?
“The Government cannot simply continue to increase health targets such as more elective surgery procedures, without increasing resourcing for those purposes,” Maryan Street said.
“It’s inevitable that frontline jobs will be lost if Waikato DHB has to make savings of $20 million in the next year and another $5 million each year for two years after that.
“You can bet the DHB’s bottom dollar that it won’t be the only one in this situation. If operational requirements such as KiwiSaver and additional services are being required of all DHBs out of baseline funding, then we will see job losses across the board,” Maryan Street said. “The Government must start to be honest about its funding for health services.
"Last year Tony Ryall admitted in the House that there was a shortfall in funding to DHBs of $156 million because of demographic changes and inflation. So even if the DHBs were to stand still, they would be short of more than $156 million collectively. But Tony Ryall is now requiring them to do more and ‘absorb’ the extra costs. This just won’t work.
“Whose job or which service will be next?” Maryan Street said. “Whose health will be next?”