Surpluses Planned For Auckland Healthcare

  • Bill English

Health Minister Bill English said today he had supported Auckland Healthcare's business plan for the year and noted the hospital was forecasting a surplus from the next financial year.

"One of the key points in the 1998/99 business plan is that Auckland Healthcare is forecasting a modest surplus in the 1999/00 financial year, which will be reinvested in health services.

"The organisation has benefited considerably from the funding transfer announced in the Budget, referred to as the deficit switch, which has allowed the Health Funding Authority to pay a fair price for health services. Further benefits have come from staff-led quality and efficiency initiatives.

"The business plan assumes that a new hospital and ambulatory care centre for Auckland will go ahead, which will involve a capital investment of around $250 million. The business case has been approved by the board and will be submitted to the Government for approval shortly.

"Auckland Healthcare is forecasting a significant improvement in its financial performance over the next three years. This year the forecast loss is $8.5 million, down from $24.3 million last year, followed by a surplus of $3.8 million in the 1999/00 year and $0.9 million the following year.

"Auckland Healthcare is the biggest hospital organisation in New Zealand and managing an organisation of this size is a challenging task. Getting the hospital on to a sound financial footing will be a significant achievement for the board and will give Aucklanders security and certainty about their health services.

"Current highlights include:

- a significant improvement in operating performance forecast
- board approval for the hospital rebuild
- efficiency programme on track
- transfer of regional services to the North Shore and Middlemore Hospitals continuing as planned
- phase one of the information systems upgrade approved.

"Apart from the new hospital and ambulatory care centre, the board has agreed to invest $6.9 million upgrading and integrating the patient scheduling system, officials are reviewing a $16.6 million laboratory project, and $73.1 million is budgeted to be invested in new equipment over the next three years," said Mr English.