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Minister responds to Arthritis Foundation call

6 August 2001 Media Statement

Minister responds to Arthritis Foundation call for more funding

Minister for Disability Issues Ruth Dyson today acknowledged the work of the Arthritis Foundation, but said it was impossible to meet all requests for extra funding immediately.

"We are gradually increasing funding for health and disability services, and addressing priority needs as quickly as we can," Ms Dyson said, in response to the foundation's call for more government funding.

"In the last Budget, disability support services received an additional $44.6 million. However, deciding which services should get extra funding is extremely difficult when there are so many competing and acute needs in our communities."

Ruth Dyson said that the Ministry of Health had worked with the Arthritis Foundation to simplify its contracting and reporting requirements this year.

"In July, for the first time, the Ministry of Health negotiated one contract with the Arthritis Foundation national office, rather than a number of contracts with local branches. This new arrangement gives the foundation more flexibility to focus on areas of greatest need and simplify its reporting back requirements."

Ruth Dyson said that, besides funding the foundation, the government supported people with arthritis in a number of other ways including subsidised phamaceuticals, specialist and hospital care, home support and respite care.

Ms Dyson said she would be happy to continue to work with the foundation in identifying and addressing priority needs.

ENDS

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