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Exclusive: Wellington DHB slashes $40m from budget in last year - and is trying to save even more

Secret papers obtained by ONE News reveal that Wellington's health board has slashed close to $40m from its budget in the past year, and is trying to save even more.

Primary healthcare services are already understaffed and suffering heading into the winter flu season. Source: 1 NEWS

Bean counters from PwC are looking over the Capital and Coast District Health Board's finances - at a cost of $95,000 - in a bid to find more savings.

"They have squeezed and squeezed and they've reached more than the pips now, there is nothing left to squeeze," Labour's Annette King said.

Meanwhile, primary health care services are suffering, with one practice in Porirua making four midwives redundant.

"The practice nurses, the midwives, the people who work in the community, your district nurses who are looking after patients coming out of hospital - they are overstretched and overworked right now," said Ann Simmons from the NZ Nurses Association.  

Nurses say Wellington Hospital is regularly understaffed, with "code red" text messages often being sent to try cover staff shortages.

The DHB says it has increased staff by 20 per cent since 2009, and the Government is defending the level of funding it is providing.

"Over the last eight years the money the Government has put into health has fully funded all pressures, including inflation, and the facts bear that out," Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman said.