District Health Boards are to get an extra $3.92 billion over four years and a one-off $282.5m to catch up on elective surgery after the Covid-19 disruption.
In a pre-Budget announcement this morning the government said the additional funding would deliver about 153,000 more surgeries and procedures, radiology scans and specialist appointments to help clear the Covid-19 backlog.
"One of the key lessons of Covid -19 is the need for a strong and sustainable public health and disability system," Health Minister Dr David Clark said in a statement.
"After what the country has gone through in recent months, and from the devastation we have seen to underprepared health systems around the world, it is absolutely critical that as a country we continue to invest in and build up the capacity of our health system. That is what the government is committed to."
In the statement, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the different abilities of governments around the world to respond to the global Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how important it is to have well-funded public services.
"We've seen before the damage that can be done when funding isn't provided in areas like health and education during and after a crisis to cover population and cost pressure growth. It can take years to catch up and make sure everyone is receiving timely treatment."
Ministers have approved a one-off investment of $282.5 million (including $50 million of capital) in planned care such as elective surgery, radiology scans, assessments and follow-ups, and procedures completed in outpatients' facilities.
This is on top of ongoing funding for planned care of $125.4 million (over four years), to cover the impact of demographic changes and increased costs.
"Although critical and urgent care continued even under alert level 4 , we know that many New Zealanders had procedures delayed," Clark said.
"Our hospitals are now returning to a more normal level of service, but it will take time to recover and deal with the backlog.
"We anticipate DHBs will work with local private providers to address waiting list backlogs as effectively and as quickly as possible.
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