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Government protects Health's spending power

Government protects Health's spending power

The National Government has protected public health services in yesterday's Budget and maintained DHBs' real spending power says Health Minister Tony Ryall.

"Advice from the Ministry of Health is that a $507 million increase would have been sufficient to protect health services against inflation and population growth."

"We have given more than that."

"We have provided an extra $512 million for 2010/2011 in new operating expenditure – a sign of this government's commitment to protecting and improving public health services for New Zealanders."

Vote Health was also the single biggest recipient of new money on Budget day.

Mr Ryall says that overall, the net increase in spending on public health is more than $22m this year alone.

"Funding for primary care is increasing by more than $144 million, and mental health is increasing by more than $174m over the next four years."

"Vote Health's total budget is now $13 .5 billion, $1.4 billion more per year than when we first came into Government."

"While that's a massive amount of money, there is always room for improvement - particularly after nearly a decade of unrestrained spending under the previous government."

The Health Minister says the Ministry of Health is on track to consolidating procurement and back office administration among DHBs which will save up to $700 million over five years – that will go straight back into improving frontline public health services.

"We are reprioritising under spent or low priority programmes and putting the savings - $56 million this year, into frontline services and delivering the results the public wants."

"For example, there has been a lower than expected uptake with the Human Papilloma Virus vaccination programme – saving $12 million over the next four years."

"We are also saving an extra $20 million over four years from a reduction in Ministry of Health staff numbers to 1,290 by July 2011."

"All savings in Health stay in health so these reprioritisations enable us to fund new initiatives in tight economic times, like $51 million extra to fund the pressures on the Very Low Cost Access programme and other primary health care services. DHBs plan to spend more on home support for the elderly next year."


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