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$5 Million A Year New Waikato Health Programmes

Extra $5 Million A Year For New Health Programmes In Waikato

The Waikato District Health Board is investing an extra $5 million a year in research and new services aimed at warding off predicted increases in ill health related to obesity, diabetes and ageing.

The money is part of an extra $8 million paid to the health board to account for population growth in the district. As a reward for its prudent financial management over recent years, the Board can invest in new health services for Waikato people instead of having to pay off debt. The extra funding is going to the health board's key priority areas of child and youth health, diabetes, older people, Maori health, Pacific people's health, and mental health. Last month, the board announced $3 million of this discretionary funding would be used to pay for hundreds of extra eye and joint replacement operations.

Board chair Michael Ludbrook says the decision to invest a larger proportion of the annual funding increase in research, disease prevention and health promotion aims to reduce the community's burden of disease in the future.

"We're front footing a forecast epidemic of ill health by putting in place measures to reduce the rate of preventable disease in our community. We have to act now to reduce the incidence and impact of diseases like Type 2 diabetes, sometimes called 'lifestyle diabetes' because of the influence of diet, obesity and inactivity on the development of the disease," Mr Ludbrook said.

"Our main priority is the good health of children whose health status influences the health of future generations. For this reason, we're investing the lion's share of the funding in health initiatives for children and youth."

The Board will spend $1.035 million this year, increasing to $1.87 million next year on services and research aimed at improving the health of children. A comprehensive healthy lifestyles and nutrition programme targeted at children will have long term benefits.

"Some experts fear that the incidence of obesity in young people is growing so rapidly that many parents will outlive their children. We're putting money into tackling the problems of unhealthy diet and inactivity which lead to childhood obesity."

Increasing academic leadership at Waikato DHB is a key aspect of the new funding, with spending on health programmes and services going hand in hand with new money for research and evaluation.

"It is important to invest also in academic leadership to drive research. If we are to get the most benefit from our limited health resources, we need to increase evidence-based decision making."

Funding has been approved to establish professorial chairs in child health, in mental health, and in gerontology at Waikato DHB in conjunction with the Auckland University Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. In addition, academic leadership in Maori health will be increased to support Waikato DHB identify ways to improve the effectiveness of services delivered to and received by Maori.


CHILD HEALTH What? How much? Academic leadership $200,000 this year $400,000 a year for the next two years Waikato health eating - health living strategy for children $300,000 this year $1 million for the next two years Funding for - Enrolling children in primary health organisations - Specialist obesity clinics - Community lactation consultants - Research into rate of obesity in Waikato children $535,000 this year $470,000 for the next two years

DIABETES What? How much? Maori community health workers and the provision of health lifestyle toolkits $545,000 for this year $720,000 for 2004/05 $650,000 for 05/06 $325,000 for 06/07 Maori diabetes service coordination $40,000 this year $80,000 a year thereafter Diabetes obesity service $125,000 this year $250,000 a year thereafter

Foot service for diabetics $125,000 this year $250,000 a year thereafter Psychological support service for diabetic children and their families $25,000 this year $50,000 thereafter Pregnancy diabetic service

$25,000 this year $50,000 a year thereafter

MENTAL HEALTH What? How much? Academic leadership $200,000 this year $400,000 a year for the next two years

OLDER PEOPLE What? How much? Academic leadership $200,000 this year $400,000 a year for the next two years Health assessment pilot in Thames/Coromandel $206,000 this year $462,000 thereafter Pharmacy review services for older people $100,000 $90,000 a year thereafter

MAORI HEALTH What? How much? Clinical leadership and a pilot two-year project to invest in healthy hapu $245,000 this year $490,000 for 2004/05 $245,000 2005/06

YOUTH What? How much? Funding to extend access across the region for free sexual health and contraceptive consultations and general practitioner services in secondary schools $100,000 this year $200,000 a year thereafter Sexual health and contraceptive consultation service $200,000 this year $400,000 a year thereafter

PACIFIC HEALTH What? How much? Community based nursing service supported by monthly paediatric services $92,500 this year $185,000 a year thereafter

NEUROSURGERY What? How much? One off funding to establish neurosurgery at Waikato Hospital $310,980

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