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Budget needs to prioritise primary health

Budget needs to prioritise primary health

A primary health care service in South Wellington - Newtown Union Health Service has grave fears for patient services if Thursday's health budget results in reduced funding for Capital & Coast DHB says its chairperson, Eileen Brown.

"Last month our Service was informed of cuts in our contracts in front line services to Māori health, diabetes, refugee services and community mental health. The pressure is just being passed down the line. The government cuts the DHB budget, then the DHB cuts the Primary Health Organisation’s budget, and so it goes on."

"More budget reductions in primary health is harmful to people's health. It makes no sense whatsoever to reduce primary health care funding. If people can't access good and affordable primary health care they end up at the Emergency Department or being admitted to hospital. This is avoidable and it costs more", says Ms Brown.

"Newtown Union Health Service is committed to maintaining all of its current services because we know how important they are to our patients. Being available to get an appointment after work or on Saturday morning is really valued by our patients. But we can only do this in the short term. And likewise with refugee health services.

"Keeping these services open and sustainable in the long term without adequate funding is not possible. DHB funding for primary health care must be enough for people on low incomes, and/or with complex health needs to get quality health care where and when they need it” says Ms Brown.

"If the government is really serious about investment where it matters, then primary health is where it needs to happen”.

ENDS

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