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BUDGET 2001: New Zealand health strategy

24 May 2001

Health funding directed at New Zealand health strategy

Budget funding for health is directed at priorities in the New Zealand Health Strategy, says Health Minister Annette King.

Mrs King announced new spending of $330 million in Vote Health, taking the total health spend to $7.47 billion.

"Many of the new initiatives relate directly or indirectly to goals, objectives and key short to medium-term priorities in the New Zealand Health Strategy," Mrs King said.

"Examples include $3.9 million toward implementing the oral health strategy, $3.7 million more for palliative care, $2.8 million more for Pacific providers, and, of course, $84.4 million more toward elective services."

Mrs King said the Government would have liked to allocate still more money to health this year, but had to balance this desire against its determination to be fiscally responsible. "That is why we have concentrated, for example, on cementing in gains we have made in the past year in terms of the mental health blueprint and elective services.

"When we came into office we discovered both mental health and elective services were to have reduced funding in 2001-02, but this Government is committed to maintaining the spending path it announced last year.

"The themes of this budget relate as closely to health as they do to any other sector. There can be no better way of investing in people and protecting New Zealanders than to invest in improving their health."

Mrs King said she was particularly pleased an extra $3.7 million would be allocated to maternity services this year. "This initiative should particularly help Maori and rural women with additional antenatal needs, and should also help stabilise aspects of the maternity workforce."

Mrs King said $3.9 million had been provided to implement recommendations in the Gisborne cervical screening inquiry report.

"When I released the inquiry report on April 10, I told the women of Gisborne that we would be implementing the report's 46 recommendations. We have already begun putting more than two-thirds of them into effect, and this extra funding will enable the work to continue."

Details of the $330 million in new spending this year:
- Oral health strategy $3.9m.
- Palliative care $3.7m.
- Pacific provider development $2.8m, to ensure providers are better placed to share in the development of the health and disability sector.
- Hospital services, $46.7m.
- Primary care, $23.5m, for forecast growth in pharmaceuticals, laboratories, GMS, immunisation and independent service providers.
- Disability Support Services, $44.6m, for deinstitutionalisation costs and for funding the care of children with severe needs.
- Vaccine costs, $0.8m.
- Cervical screening, $3.9m.
- Sector change and DHB services, $12m.
- Maternity prices, $3.7m.
- $84.39 million from outyear forecasts to reflect demographic pressures, primarily the increased health needs of an ageing population.
- Elective services, $84.4m.
- Mason services, $7.4m, in addition to the increase of $50m in 2001-02 for mental health services announced in last year's budget. The $7.4m will be spent primarily in the areas of child and youth mental health, workforce development, forensic services and alcohol and drug services.
- Pharmaceutical and laboratory testing, $8.88m.


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