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Crucial areas of the NZ health sector adressed in Budget

Guild pleased that crucial areas of the New Zealand health sector have been addressed in Budget 2016

The Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand (the Guild) is pleased that some crucial areas of the New Zealand health sector have been addressed in Budget 2016 and that specific funding has been allocated to support these areas.

Guild Chief Executive, Lee Hohaia says “Prioritising the health spend benefits the wellbeing of many New Zealanders and we are pleased the Government is recognising some of the key health issues affecting our population.

“We hope that this support continues and the Government also recognises that as the pressure on our health sector continues to grow due to our ageing and rising population, so do our costs.

“We are pleased that DHBs will receive an extra $400m in the next year and hope that DHBs will consider allocating some of this funding to ensure that patients are able to access a range of services from their community pharmacies such as minor ailments schemes, expanding CPAMS, funded flu vaccinations, and adherence support for elderly patients in their homes. Such initiatives will help prevent downstream costs for DHBs.

“There are number of areas highlighted in Budget 2016 that are of particular benefit to the pharmacy sector and our patients, and some specific initiatives have been announced that pharmacy is ideally placed to be involved with.

“For us, highlights from Budget 2016 include $124 million being allocated to providing access to new medicines as this is a real win for our patients and will positively impact the quality of life of many New Zealanders.

“The allocation of $73 million for primary health care, including extra support for free GP visits and prescriptions for under 13s, is another win for patients. This initiative has proved to be incredibly successful and beneficial for this age group. Since the policy was introduced there has been an increase in this age group seeking health care and medicine from general practice and pharmacies.

“The funding provided for the national bowel cancer screening programme is a win for all New Zealanders. With the right service and funding model, community pharmacy would welcome the opportunity to contribute to this service and would be well placed, as the health professional people see most often, to offer screening support to patients.

“We also applaud the Government for increasing tax on tobacco. The Guild supports the Government’s goal of achieving a smokefree New Zealand. Pharmacy is also well placed to provide smoking cessation support to patients in their communities, such as the current initiative underway in the MidCentral region.

“We would have liked to have seen specific funding set aside to help support a viable and sustainable future for community pharmacy, however, we hope that pharmacy’s potential will be seen in supporting a number of the initiatives announced, such as expanding alcohol and drug support for pregnant woman, early access to mental health services, and bowel cancer screening.

“At this stage it is difficult to determine the real impact Budget 2016 will have on community pharmacy without knowing how DHBs plan to allocate their share of funding across services and we look forward to learning more.”

ENDS

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