Healthcare funding merely cosmetic
25 May 2017
Today's Budget needed to do much more to save our public health care says ActionStation Co-Director Laura O’Connell-Rapira.
“Although the Government responded to public pressure with allocations to the Health budget, it does not go far to address the nine years of underfunding,” she says.
Thousands of New Zealanders supported a call for a missing $1.85 billion to be restored to the healthcare system in combined petitions delivered nationally to MPs this month.
This month the Council of Trade Unions reassessed the figure of missing funding at $2.2 billion.
“It’s an emergency situation,” says O’Connell-Rapira. “Health funding is a huge priority for the ActionStation community, and I would say this Budget will only increase the public concern. The Government response is very disappointing.”
Today the Government has announced a $60m boost to Pharmac to allow greater access to medicines. Another $59.2m will be put towards emergency services, which will allow all road ambulance call-outs to be double-crewed. $38.5m has been given to continue rolling out a bowel screening programme.
“These sums are merely cosmetic,” says Ms O’Connell-Rapira. “Although the Government has responded to pressure from the ActionStation community and many others on several fronts, it’s far from enough.”
Missing funding has put huge pressure on an overloaded public health system. District Health Boards (DHBs) are trying to find ‘efficiencies’ to meet increased demands on services.
Just this week Waikato Hospital was unable to cope with demand and had to reschedule surgery and turn away non-emergency patients.
“Too many people in Aotearoa today are held back from accessing necessary health care because they cannot see specialists or get onto surgery lists,” says O’Connell-Rapira.
The Save our public health petitions: http://www.saveourpublichealth.com/