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Budget 2007: Promoting healthy NZ families

Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister of Health

Promoting healthy New Zealand families

Strengthening the health and well being of New Zealand families is a key focus of Budget 2007, which delivers on a wide range of programmes for children, parents and grandparents, said Health Minister Pete Hodgson.

The Labour-led government is making a major investment of $441.7 million over four years in the disability and aged care sectors with a recognition that pay rates in these two important areas need to be increased if quality staff are to be recruited and retained.

The residential care sector, providing specialised care for older people when they need it, gets a funding boost of $150 million over the next four years in this year's budget while the home-based support that allows older people to remain safely in their own homes gets a funding boost of $81.2 million over four years.

Disability support is also allocated significant new funding of $32 million over four years for home-based support services and another $44 million over four years for residential care.

Another $48.3 million over four years in this budget goes to pay for disability equipment that will improve the quality of life of those wanting to live as independently as possible.

"Some of the criteria and arrangements for accessing disability equipment and modifications have in the past been restrictive," says Pete Hodgson.

"We want to ensure that older people or people with disabilities who value their independence are able to stay in their own homes if that is what they want. Many of us often forget how important it is to be able to live an ordinary life and participate in the community along with everyone else."

Previous budgets of this government have placed strong emphasis on disease prevention and Budget 2007 continues this work. New funding of $13.2 million a year for the next four years will mean the successful "Get Checked" diabetes programme can be widened to include a new programme to check for cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death among New Zealanders.

Budget 2007 also builds on and improves the work the Labour-led government has done in the area of mental health, with $21 million over the next four years to fund primary mental healthcare for patients with mild to moderate depression, anxiety disorders and drug and alcohol addictions.

Extra funding of $11.2 million is allocated in this budget to ensuring access to quality programmes such as programmes to prevent family violence.

Another $26 million over four years is allocated to implementing the Cancer Control Strategy to reduce the incidence and impact of cancer. The extra money is targeted at workforce development, particularly in areas such as colorectal cancer where training and education can support practitioners to improve cancer outcomes.

Another important funding element in this year's budget for the care of the elderly and the disabled is a further $6.4 million over the next four years for respite services, building on the existing investment of the past year. The money helps to give both carers and clients a break from their living situation.

New money of $8.4 million over four years will mean newborns and young adults will have better access to cochlear implants, giving babies born with serious hearing impairment the best possible start in life and ensuring adults who are profoundly deaf can lead as normal a life as possible.

Details of the strengthening families range of measures are (all over four years):

- Aged residential care $150 million
- Home-based support services for over 65 years $81.2 million
- Home-based disability support services $32 million
- Residential services for disabled for under 65 years $44 million
- Environmental Support services for disabled $48.3 million
- Get Checked diabetes expand to cardiovascular disease $13.2 million
- Primary mental healthcare $21 million
- Programmes to prevent family violence $11.2 million
- Cancer control action $26 million
- Support for family caregivers $6.4 million
- Cochlear implants $8.4 million.

ENDS

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