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Government delivers on its promises for health

Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health

28 May 2009

Government delivers on its promises for health

The Government has announced an additional $3 billion investment in health priorities over the next four years – including $750 million in 2009/10.

Budget 2009 provides the extra money as part of the Government’s pre-election commitment to better, faster, more convenient health services for New Zealanders.

“Despite the worsening economic situation, the new government will protect the public health system as a top priority,” Health Minister Tony Ryall says.

“We have allocated over 40 per cent of all new government funding for Budget 2009 to health priorities.”


Increasing the frontline health workforce is a key element for improving access and quality of health services. Budget 2009 funds a significant number of workforce initiatives including:

• 60 new medical training places in 2009/10, which is the first tranche of the Government’s intention to establish 200 new places annually – around $25 million has been allocated to Vote Education and Social Development

• 25 extra places for general practitioner training in 2009/10, increasing to 50 extra places per year - $17.5 million over four years

• Up to 800 additional health professionals over four years to increase services for New Zealanders needing elective surgery - $70 million over four years

• More training for health professionals in rural areas - $4 million over four years


Just over $2.1 billion extra over the next four years will go directly to District Health Boards for services to their local populations. DHBs will be required to advance a number of initiatives from this funding:

• The first tranche of the Government’s intention to boost funding for subsidised medicines – $138.8 million to DHBs over four years. Adding $46.9 million for Herceptin and associated costs, this provides a total $185.7 million in new funding for subsidised medicines over four years

• Devolving some hospital services to primary care - $45.5 million over the next four years

• Improving quality and supervision in aged residential care facilities and respite care for those being cared for by others at home - $89.5 million over four years.


“The Government has recognised the increased birth rate and the demand this puts on maternity services,” Mr Ryall says. “We are committed to ensuring that expectant and new mothers are supported.”

To meet the increased maternity service needs, there is additional funding of $103.5 million over four years to support:

• Resources for increased birth rates - $40 million

• Longer stays in birthing facilities - $38.5 million

• Support services for parents - $14 million for a 24/7 Plunketline telephone advice service and other advisory and information services to support the Well Child Framework

• An extra visit to the GP or lead maternity carer in each trimester for mothers or babies at risk - $9.9 million

• Obstetrics retraining for GPs - $1.1 million

Other health highlights in Budget 2009 include:

• $60 million over four years for hospice and palliative care

• $100 million over four years as a contribution to Energy for the New Zealand Insulation Fund.

• $37.2 million over four years to help to securely care and rehabilitate offenders with an intellectual disability outside of the criminal justice system

• $245 million over four years into capital infrastructure

• $15.3 million over two years starting in 2011/12 into voluntary bonding for hard to staff health professions and locations.

“We are living through a time of serious financial pressure both internationally and domestically,” Mr Ryall says. “The Government remains strongly committed to the public health system. This is demonstrated by the $3 billion investment in health priorities in Budget 2009, which is a large proportion of the Government's new spending.”


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