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Health investment increases to a record $15.9b

Health investment increases to a record $15.9b

New Zealand’s health budget will reach a record $15.9 billion in the coming year, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says.

“It is important that all New Zealanders and their families have access to timely quality healthcare, no matter where they live,” he says. “Budget 2015 is investing around $1.7 billion in health over the next four years for new initiatives and to meet cost pressures and population growth.

“District Health Boards will have around $320 million available next year for extra services and to help meet cost pressures and population changes.

“This Budget shows the Government’s commitment to supporting and growing our public health services.

“Despite our economic challenges, we have focused on delivering better, more convenient healthcare sooner. We have also streamlined health sector services to make each dollar go further.”

This extra funding will help cover cost pressures and new initiatives including:

• $98 million to provide more New Zealanders with timely elective surgery, and to improve the prevention and treatment of orthopaedic conditions.
• $12.4 million to extend the bowel cancer screening pilot to December 2017.
• $76.1 million to help hospices expand their palliative care services and support 60 new nurse specialists, palliative care educators and support roles.

These initiatives come on top of the $90 million over three years announced in Budget 2014 for free doctors’ visits and prescriptions for children aged under 13. This takes effect from 1 July 2015 and over 400,000 children will benefit.

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