Five months into the financial year operating budgets for units within the health department are set to be finalised with the delay in budget distribution drawing criticism from the opposition.
Labor health spokeswoman Sarah Lovell said staff had reported they were yet to receive their unit operating budgets which would normally be distributed shortly after the state budget is handed down.
"At a time where the government is expecting them to make budget savings and they have been instructed to make cuts they don't know what to cut from," Ms Lovell said.
"It is pretty ludicrous for them not to have those budgets five months into the financial year they are supposed to apply for.
"The only explanation for not providing budgets to health services is the Liberals know the level of backlash their woeful underfunding will receive."
Ms Lovell said the lack of operational budgets has impacted service delivery with hospitals working off 2017 staffing levels and recruitment delayed.
"Until hospitals and health services know what they have to work with this year, how can they manage staffing, or make decisions about provision of services such as elective surgery?" Ms Lovell said.
Government Minister Michael Ferguson said, following the announcement on Friday of $15 million in federal funding for elective surgeries, the hospital budgets were being revised and would be released in the very near future.
"Those hospital budgets were already being finalised but now we need to factor those [extra surgeries] in also," Mr Ferguson said.
Mr Ferguson said a service agreement was signed between the Department of Health and the Tasmanian Health Service earlier this year which made staff aware of their expectations.
"Staff respond and work on the basis of the service agreements," he said.
"[Labor's comments] show a misunderstanding because the service agreements are in place and they provide for the levels of service."
Mr Ferguson said, given the demand pressure on the system, it was likely the government would provide extra funding to top up the health budget this financial year.