Filling nursing gaps has pushed the Waikato District Health Board deeper into the red to the tune of almost $2 million.
The figure is included in papers for a board meeting today.
The Waikato DHB has one of the largest DHB deficits, at $37 million for the last financial year.
Papers for today's board meeting show it has gone about $2 million deeper into the red so far this new financial year, largely because of nursing-related costs.
It said the costs reflect the need to fill nursing gaps in the wake of the recent pay deal with nurses, and higher rates for agency or contract nurses under the deal.
Rising severity of patient cases - a nationwide trend - was another factor, it said.
The DHB is yet to receive an extra funding of more than $3.6 million under the deal but says it will come, and in the meantime it has begun recruiting an extra 100 nurses.