$13.5m budget blow-out by SDHB

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files

Meeting targets for elective surgery, plus the high cost of blood products have resulted in Southern District Health Board's annual deficit surging past $13 million.

While that $13.5 million figure is $5.5 million more than its budgeted $8 million annual deficit, it is also less than the Ministry of Health anticipated.

Its most recent DHB financial report expected the SDHB to record a $17.5 million deficit for 2017-18.

The SDHB posted deficits of $21.87 million in 2016-17 and $33.543 million in 2015-16.

A report to be presented to the SDHB commissioners meeting tomorrow said the adverse result was primarily driven by the need to outsource elective surgery to reach Health Ministry targets, and also high demand for clinical supplies, especially blood, which cost $1.1 million more than predicted when budgets were set.

Outsourced clinical services were more than $4 million over budget as the SDHB used outside providers to help clear waiting lists for opthalmology, orthopaedic and urology patients.

High demand for intensive care unit beds in June resulted in 20 cardiothoracic patients treated at Mercy Hospital, rather than by the SDHB. Outsourced elective surgeries made up the remainder of costs.

''The elective initiative is a key ministry target we have been monitoring elective surgical delivery against for the year,'' the report said.

''Catching up to this target is what the elective recovery programme has been focused on since February.''

The SDHB targeted 15,261 case weights for the year - each operation is given a ''weight'' according to complexity and cost in time and resources.

Although it was 325 case weights under target, the SDHB obtained 100% of elective surgery funding revenue.

''This is a very positive message to feed back to the team, who have worked hard to increase the level of elective services delivery.''

Clinical supplies were almost $8 million over budget for the year, a blow-out driven by high costs for blood, implants and prostheses, pharmaceuticals and air ambulances.

''This will be a key area of focus for the DHB going in to the 2018-19 financial year,'' the report said.

mike.houlahan@odt.co.nz

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