6 Oct 2008

Auckland health board writes off Fijian tourist's debt

12:48 pm on 6 October 2008

Auckland District Health Board has written off more than $160,000 in debt owed by a tourist from Fiji.

The patient arrived in New Zealand on a visitor's permit, and while here was admitted to Auckland City Hospital with serious heart problems.

A lawyer for the health board, Bruce Northey, says the patient was ineligible for publicly funded healthcare and did not have insurance.

He says the patient's family in Auckland has acknowledged liability for the debt, but is not able to pay it.

This is the latest case of patients from overseas causing a financial strain on the New Zealand health system.

The health board spent $16 million on non-eligible patients last year, and has $2 million in unpaid debts.