Spending doubles

Carole Heatly
Carole Heatly
Spending on communications, marketing and advertising has more than doubled at Southern District Health Board in the past three years, figures released under the Official Information Act show.

In the last full financial year the board shelled out more than $445,000, compared with just over $159,000 in 2010-11. In 2011-12 it spent $243,491.

The communications department employs 3.2 full-time staff and the figures included wages and salaries. However, more than $60,000 of staffing costs would be clawed back from other health boards because Southern has a South Island-wide health communication role.

Chief executive Carole Heatly said communications was ''crucial'', and the department was strengthened after an external report identified it as a weakness a couple of years ago. She said spending would not increase further.

Communications director Steve Addison said his department's responsibilities included communicating with 4500 staff, media queries, public health promotion and Official Information Act requests.

- eileen.goodwin@odt.co.nz

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