More than $13,125 of medical supplies went missing last year, prompting the Bay of Plenty District Health Board to consider bringing in debt collectors.
The items include five $1050 CPAP machines, three $651 slings and a $2829 electric hoist.
However, the cost of chasing such items was not often worth it, acting chief executive Pete Chandler said.
The information came as part of an Official Information Act request into missing medical supplies.
Mr Chandler said it no longer tracked the missing items centrally due to "growth and changes in our service configuration" but expected individual departments to manage losses.
"Each service is responsible for their own pool of loan equipment and the process differs for diverse types of equipment that is loaned to the public," Mr Chandler said.
"BOPDHB does not have a single register of loan equipment and the cost [of]attempting to trace equipment often outweighs its actual value."
Mr Chandler said it would consider debt collectors if there was evidence there had been wilful damage to equipment.
Other items include crutches, over toilet frames, shower stools and walking frames.
An agreement was signed between the district health board and patient when equipment was loaned out and when items were not returned staff used phone calls and letters to chase them up. Sometimes, if items were of significant value, staff would collect them from a person's home.
Agreements stated the patient agreed to pay for all reasonable costs incurred by the Bay of Plenty District Health Board if the item was not returned on the agreed date or was damaged. Agreements also acknowledged a delay in returning the item would reduce timely access for other patients in need, Mr Chandler said.
Taxpayer's Union executive director Jordan Williams said it found it staggering the district health board did not have a central register of medical supplies and equipment funded with public money.
"The DHB's lack of register suggests a major failure in its duty as stewards of public money and that, worryingly, the $13,125 is probably just the tip of the iceberg,'' Mr Williams said.