DHB in $3.24m deficit

The Taranaki District Health Board's books are heading in the right direction despite posting an unaudited loss of more than $3 million.

The board announced the $3.24m deficit for the 2013-14 financial year, this week.

The better-than-expected financial result was $210,000 less than forecast.

However, it's a long way off the $7000 surplus they posted the year before.

A financial report, tabled at the meeting, stated the "major influence" on the result was the "continuing and increased" operating deficit which blew out by $3.3m.

But this was offset by the DHB's funder arm which posted a $9.85m surplus.

The effect of increased clinical activities and reduced waiting lists was evident on cost structures which pushed salaries and diagnostic costs beyond budget parameters, the report stated.

After the meeting, board chairwoman Pauline Lockett said belt tightening and thinking outside the square was a key driver behind the result.

"Everybody has got on board with looking at new ways of doing things or reducing costs," she said.

"In terms of the provider we came out $355,000 ahead of our actual planned budget.

"So while it was still a deficit, there was that great result there."

She said the funding arm also needed to be recognised for their effort.

"They are a huge contributor to the overall result."

Lockett said although they were predicting another deficit next year, it should be far smaller.

Taranaki Daily News