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Psychiatrists welcome health initiatives in Budget

Media Release

Psychiatrists welcome health initiatives in Budget

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has welcomed extra funding in health in this year’s budget, but says more details need to be released on how the money will be spent.

RANZCP President and New Zealand-based psychiatrist, Dr Murray Patton, says it is pleasing to see extra funding of $40 million allocated for additional support for elderly people including people with dementia.

Mental illness is a major health and social issue, with one in five New Zealanders experiencing a mental illness in any one year.

According to Alzheimers New Zealand, 53,000 people in New Zealand currently have dementia and that number is expected to triple to around 150,000 by 2050.

“The prevalence of mental illness, and the impact it has on the productivitiy of New Zealanders as a nation, cannot be understated. It is not just people who live with mental illness: it is their families, their carers, and their support networks.

“Dementia has become a significant health challenge in New Zealand. We hope that actions to support the care of people with dementia will also include improvements in their mental health care and ensure that other mental health issues affecting older people are not neglected,” Dr Murray Patton says.

Dr Patton has also welcomed free GP visits and prescriptions for children under 13 and extra funding for disability support services.

“Early intervention in a child’s mental health is important and free access to doctors and medication will ensure they get the help they need at an early age.”

“People with disabilities often fall through the service gaps between the health and disability systems and their considerable needs are not addressed. It is important they have access to suitable support to ensure they have quality of life and longer life expectancy.”

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) is the principal organisation training and representing qualified medical practitioners who specialize in the treatment of mental illness in Australia and New Zealand.

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