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More Money for Pacific Health Providers

Health Minister Annette King today announced the Government has reinstated the Pacific Island Provider Development fund with an injection of $1.51 million this year, and a guarantee of funding in the future.

She described the move as a significant Closing the Gaps initiative to address the health disparities suffered by Pacific people.

Mrs King said the "need to encourage more Pacific people to participate in the health sector is critically important. Their needs can clearly be met more effectively when providers reflect their linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Through these providers we want to improve access to primary health care and other community based services."

The initiative was one of the most important supported by the Gaps committee of cabinet ministers, she said. "Provider development ultimately is about capacity building in communities. Communities need the capacity to identify their own problems, and to manage their solutions. The Government's role is to provide communities with the resources to do just that. That is what this initiative is all about."

Mrs King said the Pacific Provider Development scheme had been established by the previous Government with a one-off allocation of $1 million for this financial year.

"A one-off allocation doesn't work because there is no guarantee of continuity of health services. The extra $1.51 million we have now allocated for the rest of this year will encourage the Pacific health providers who have already been established, and will help others become established.

"In future years funding will be guaranteed through Ministry of Health baselines. This money represents a committed start to turning the health status of Pacific people around."

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