Board deficit expected to continue downward trend

Chris Fleming
Chris Fleming. PHOTO: ODT FILES
The Southern District Health Board has once more been placed on notice to drastically improve its financial performance.

The Ministry of Health expected it would record a $10.9million deficit in the coming year, chief executive Chris Fleming told a board meeting this week.

That would be a better result than the 2018-19 $89million deficit and last year’s projected deficit of $49million — results which were inflated due to one-off costs such as complying with the Holidays Act.

Mr Fleming said the ministry had agreed to exempt further Holidays Act impositions, as well as expenditure tagged to preventing the spread of Covid-19, when assessing how well the SDHB had done against its budget projections.

"Both of these items will be singled out and will be excluded from comparison against the planned financial performance."

The SDHB deficit for the first month of the financial year was $1.9million — $300,000 better than forecast — but it was too early to say if that improved performance represented a trend, Mr Fleming said.

In its statement of performance expectations, the board budgeted to return to surplus in two years, but it also showed the cost to taxpayers of balancing the SDHB’s books.

The board received $56million in deficit support two years ago, and $80million last year.

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