District health board debt is expected to reach $209 million or more by the end of the financial year, Parliament has been told.
Health Minister David Clark said financial results for the year to the end of February showed a combined deficit of $189m.
"The Ministry of Health is forecasting a total DHB deficit of $209m or more by the end of the financial year," he said.
The financial year ends on June 30.
The Government has been emphasising problems with hospitals as it prepares next month's budget, and today Dr Clark again accused the previous government of underfunding the health service.
"The focus of the budget will show the first steps in rebuilding quality pubIic services," he said.
"I expect the DHBs will see the benefit of this focus in the upcoming budget."