TDH’s finances expected to improve

27 February 2015

A very busy winter, more cancer patients getting more treatment and extra hip and knee operations have contributed to a poor financial result for Tairāwhiti District Health seven months into the financial year.

The $1.668m deficit was worse than anticipated says Mike Costello, Group Manager of Finance. “Savings of over $700,000 had been identified but that was not sufficient and further actions were being investigated.”

We are confident the situation will improve. An unexpectedly high "spike" in demand for acute services in winter, had now abated. However December and January had been "an intense period" because of the demand for services.

Pharmaceuticals for cancer patients are up $450,000 and costs for instruments had increased by $200,000 on last year and that was a contributing factor. Extra hip and knee replacement operations had been carried out.

TDH is meeting Ministry of Health set Health Targets such including as speeding up the timeframes for cancer treatment. This all comes at a cost.

Jim Green, Chief Executive said the way that the Ministry of Health’s population-based formula allocates funding to DHBs means that for a health board with a slowly increasing population like Tairāwhiti and the financial climate of the country, increases in funding would not match those from the previous decade.

Primary health care would be an area of focus as it can lower costs in secondary healthcare (hospitals). Bringing healthcare closer to where people live means more convenient care and avoiding the need for people to be treated in hospital.