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Dr Cullen Naive Over Future Health Spending Needs

“Dr Cullen is naive if he genuinely believes that the three year health funding package, reported in the Budget, signals the end of significant increases in investment in the health system when the three years is up,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today.

“There are positive features in the Budget for health including the longer term planning, but much of the increase is partial compensation for the shocking Budget last year, which in real terms reduced actual spending on public hospitals. It is also partial compensation for many previous years of lack of financial investment in public hospitals. New Zealanders should remember that in last year’s Budget hospitals had an increase of just $900,000 to be split among all 22 District Health Boards.”

“Dr Cullen leaves open the possibility that growth in GDP may lead to a growth in health spending. The human reality is that sick people need medical attention what ever the rate of growth in the economy.”

“Health costs always increase and are affected by factors such as the impact of higher international inflation for necessary resources and technology, increased acute hospital admissions and our ageing population.”

“It is much more sensible to have regular, steady increases in health funding than stop-start decisions that cause rundowns, cost more in the longer term and disrupt hospital planning,” concluded Mr Powell.

Ian Powell

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