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Budget 2006: A healthier future for young NZers

Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister of Health

A healthier future for young New Zealanders

Improving the health of young New Zealanders is the aim of a four-year $80.4 million child health package in Budget 2006, Health Minister Pete Hodgson announced today.

The package includes a strengthened child and adolescent oral health service, an expansion of Well Child checks and the creation of a universal newborn hearing screening programme.

"Protecting the health of our children is the greatest service our health system can provide for New Zealand families," Pete Hodgson said. "New Zealanders should be proud that we have a health system that puts the needs of all children at the centre of our public health system.

"The package I'm announcing today will mean significant gains for the health of young New Zealanders. The initiatives we'll be funding focus on getting ahead of the problems likely to be faced by our children and providing earlier access to the services that will make a difference in their lives."

Details of the package are as follows:

• $40.8 million over four years for a strengthened child and adolescent oral health service to include the rebuilding and re-equipping of the School Dental Service, with additional capital expenditure,
• $23.6 million over four years to create a 'school ready' health check for four year olds and expand the number of Well Child checks for pre-school children,
• $16 million over four years for the creation of a universal newborn hearing screening programme.

"I'm proud to be the Minister of Health in a Labour-led government that can make this kind of investment in the health of young New Zealanders," Pete Hodgson said. "Over the past six years we've made huge gains in child and adolescent health, including the roll-out of access to cheaper doctor's visits for under 24s and the hugely successful Meningococcal B immunisation campaign, which has so far resulted in a 57 percent reduction in the incidence of the disease."

Pete Hodgson said further announcements on the implementation of the child health package would take place later in the year.

ENDS

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