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Budget delivers over $2 billion extra for health

Budget delivers over $2 billion extra for health

The Government has announced an additional $2.1 billion investment in health priorities over the next four years – including an extra $512 million in 2010/11.

This includes $1.77 billion of new operating funding, $186 million from reprioritised operating spending, and $142 million for capital investment over four years.

“District Health Boards will directly receive $1.4 billion extra over four years, and will also receive a large share of the extra funding going to targeted initiatives such as elective surgery and medicines,” Health Minister Tony Ryall says.

“This is a significant funding increase in the light of the continuing difficult economic situation. It will help protect our public health services in real terms against inflation and fully fund population growth.

“Vote Health is also the single biggest item of new operating spending in Budget 2010, reflecting this Government's commitment to maintain and improve frontline health services for New Zealanders.

“Over the next four years, we have increased funding for mental health services by $40 million, and there has also been some reprioritisation within mental health. In addition, it is expected DHBs will allocate $174 million to mental health from the new $1.4 billion that DHBs receive directly.”

Earlier this month, the Government announced $24 million of new spending over four years for a pilot programme to assess the feasibility of a national bowel cancer screening programme.

About $186 million over four years of lower priority spending has also been identified and shifted to high priority and frontline public health services.

The new priorities include 20 new medical training places in 2010/11, the second tranche of the Government's initiative to establish 200 new training places annually. Around $8 million over four years has been transferred to Vote Education for this.

Funding for medicines will increase by $80 million over the next four years, with $40 million of this to be met from DHBs’ budgets, and an extra $40 million being invested by the Government.

The Government continues to invest heavily to provide additional elective procedures as part of its pre-election commitment to better, sooner, more convenient health services for New Zealanders. This includes:

• An extra $10.2 million committed in the current 2009/10 year for electives including cardiac surgery.

• An extra $51.5 million over the next four years for additional elective surgery.

• An extra $8 million over the next four years for breast reconstruction surgery.

Other extra health funding in the Budget over the next four years includes:

• $109 million for primary care services, and there has also been some reprioritisation within primary care.

• $93 million to fund disability services and equipment.

• $46 million for health screening services.

“The new resources announced today will help us continue improving frontline health services for patients,” Mr Ryall says.

ENDS

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