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Vote Health the largest ever

29 May 2005

Hon Annette King Minister of Health

Vote Health the largest ever

The government’s commitment to effective and responsive health services for all New Zealanders is reflected in new budget spending of $969.7 million in 2005-06 and $4.09 billion over the next four years, Health Minister Annette King says.

Total Vote Health will reach an unprecedented $9.68 billion in 2005-06.

"The Health Funding Package continues to be an effective method of funding ongoing health expenditure, providing the health sector with the certainty it needs. This budget increases the funding provision for inflationary and demographic pressures by $387.6 million over the next four years, taking the total to $2.6 billion.

"All this amounts to a huge investment in fair, equitable and sustainable public health services in New Zealand. Vote Health now accounts for about 20 per cent of all government spending."

Ms King says today’s budget also reinforces the government’s commitment to new funding for implementing the Mental Health Blueprint, to improve services and support to those with significant mental health needs. This budget provides a further roll-out of the Blueprint to 2008-09 at a cost of $22 million, maintaining an ongoing increment of $22 million a year with a total increase of $222 million over the next four years.

"Mental health spending has been a high priority for this government from the start.

"Another high priority has been the provision of the Meningococcal B vaccine to all New Zealanders under the age of 20, and I am delighted that this is progressing ahead of schedule. The total commitment by the government is $178 million, with $31 million being provided in the 2005-06 fiscal year. The roll-out is scheduled for completion in 2006."

Ms King says the budget also continues funding to implement the largest public hospital upgrade ever undertaken in New Zealand.

"We are rebuilding or upgrading hospitals throughout the country. Current projects benefiting from more than $500 million in government funding include: Waitemata, Counties Manukau, Wellington, Kenepuru, Wairarapa, Horowhenua, Dunstan, Waikato, Thames, Kaitaia and Tauranga. New hospitals have already been opened in Auckland, West Auckland, Christchurch and Invercargill."

A number of specific initiatives are funded in this year’s budget, including funding in 2005-06 of $35.5 million ($142 million over four years) for the establishment of a cancer control council, increased support for hospices, a range of other cancer control initiatives and an extension of free breast screening to all women between aged 45 and 69.

Ms King announced earlier this month $17.2 million over three years for up to 4000 extra cataract operations a year by 2008, a 50 per cent increase on current numbers.

"That initiative and the unprecedented funding now going into the DHB sector together with the capital programme illustrate the government’s determination to provide first-class hospital facilities and services throughout New Zealand," she says.

ENDS

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