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HBDHB Welcomes Increased Health Care Funding

19 July 2004

HBDHB Welcomes Increased Primary Health Care Funding

Last week’s announcement by Prime Minister Helen Clark and Health Minister Annette King that the Government has agreed to fast track the programme of investment in frontline primary health care services through Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) is great news for people living in Hawke’s Bay, according to the DHB’s planning and funding manager, Susan Peacock.

“Nationwide this is an additional injection of $415.7 million into frontline health services over three years, and we estimate that an additional $15 million will be spent in Hawke’s Bay,” she said.

“With 93% of Hawke’s Bay people enrolled with the Wairoa PHO or the Hawke’s Bay PHO, (which covers Napier, Hastings and Central Hawke’s Bay) increasing numbers of Hawke’s Bay people will benefit from the reduced fees and prescription costs which are progressively being introduced.

“On 1 July this year lower fees and reduced pharmaceutical costs for the 65 plus age group were introduced. This will be followed by cheaper prescriptions and doctors’ visits for 18-24 year olds in July next year, for 45-64 year olds in July 2006, and for the rest of New Zealanders, the 25-44 year olds in July 2007.

To date, all eligible children under six years benefit from free visits to general practitioners, young people under the age of eighteen have benefited from reduced fees since 1 October 2003, with the more recent extension of the subsidy to the 65 plus group. Extending the subsidy to adults (18-64 years) will mean that by July 2007 all people enrolled in a Hawke’s Bay PHO will have access to more affordable health care.

All people enrolled with Access practices in Wairoa, Flaxmere, Maraenui and Hastings are already benefiting from low fees and reduced costs of pharmaceuticals since the inception of the PHOs.

“Being able to deliver more accessible and more affordable primary health care is fundamental to improving the health of our Hawke’s Bay communities. We have some of the worst health statistics in the country and we are excited at the prospect of being able to work together to have the healthiest families in New Zealand,” Mrs Peacock said.

The concept of Primary Health Organisations (PHO) supports health professionals and health providers working together. There is a new and strengthened focus on keeping people healthy while delivering quality care to those who are unwell or have chronic illness. The new environment will see family doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dieticians, Maori and Pacific Island health workers, community health workers and others, working together through PHOs.

“The PHO environment encourages continuity of care, which we know provides better outcomes for people and their families. We’ve often heard about sick people not being able to get the right care at the right time. The new funding will certainly go a long way to help people get the care they need, when they need it.

“The District Health Board, the PHO boards and the health providers of Hawke’s Bay must be congratulated for their commitment to the setting up of the two PHOs. Their success in enabling this investment to flow to our community must be acknowledged,” Sue Peacock said.

ENDS

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