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Health receives largest increase in spending

Hon Tony Ryall

Minister of Health

24 May 2012

Health receives largest increase in spending

Health receives the largest increase in government spending in the Budget, with $435 million available to help fund cost pressures and new initiatives in 2012/13, Health Minister Tony Ryall says.

“Despite tight financial times, the Government is spending $14.12 billion in 2012/13 on health – the biggest investment ever,” he says. “This demonstrates the National Government’s commitment to protecting and growing our public health services.”

Budget 2012 provides an extra $1.5 billion for public health services over the next four years. This includes $435 million for new initiatives and cost pressures in 2012/13.

This is made up of $358 million in new money for health, $47 million of savings and under-spends, and $30 million from drugs coming off patent.

“District health boards will have around $350 million available this year – as well as additional funding from the Ministry of Health for service contracts,” says Mr Ryall.

The extra funding over four years will fund cost pressures and new initiatives including:

$33 million for better, faster cancer treatment, including dedicated cancer nurses to support patients through the course of their treatment.
$16 million to speed up diagnostic tests for patients.
$48 million for more and faster elective surgery.
$20.5 million to strengthen maternity services and boost PlunketLine and WellChild services.
$133 million to improve services and access for people with disabilities.
$28 million to provide free after-hours doctors’ visits for under-sixes.
$12 million to provide more support services for older people.
$40 million for increased dementia services.

“Around $47 million of savings and under-spends in Health have been shifted to higher priority frontline public health services in 2012/13,” Mr Ryall says.

“Budget 2012 also changes the adjustment for the residential care exemption from a flat increase of $10,000 a year to an annual inflation adjustment in line with other aged-care support adjustments.

“The Government has previously announced the pharmacy co-payment will rise from $3 to $5 per prescription, the first increase in this payment in 20 years. No family will pay more than $40 extra in a year as a result of these changes.

“Importantly, there will still be no charge for under-sixes or those with a Pharmaceutical Subsidy Card.

“The Government is investing in improving key services for New Zealand patients,” he says. “Despite tight financial constraints, it is maintaining its commitment to protecting and growing our public health services.”


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