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BUDGET 2001: Elective services, mental health

24 May 2001

Sustainable funding for elective services, mental health

Health Minister Annette King says the level of funding for elective services and mental health in the budget shows the Government's commitment to sustainable funding paths in both areas.

"The Government remains committed to reducing waiting times for elective services, and the budget confirms existing levels of elective services will be maintained in 2001-02.

"To achieve this, the Government will continue to fund into the future the $84 million a year allocated by the previous government for three years. This funding was due to run out this year, but will now be dedicated to elective services on an ongoing basis.

"This transition from one-off funding to sustainable baseline funding will better meet the long-term strategic planning needs of District Health Boards. It is estimated that more than 185,000 acute and elective surgical procedures will be undertaken in 2000-01. Now we can expect similar numbers in 2001-02.

"The health sector has worked hard to meet the Government’s commitment that all patients should have certainty of treatment within six months of assessment, or a plan of care to be managed by their general practitioner or specialist.

"While the health system will always be constrained by available resources, patients are entitled to honest advice about their treatment status and the treatment options available to them. We believe it is better that patients have a plan for their ongoing care and support, rather than face an indefinite and un-monitored wait on a waiting list."

Mrs King said the Government has agreed to fund the $7.4 million outstanding balance of the Mason money for 2000-02 to ensure the continuation of the mental health services funded following the Mason review.

The $7.4 million is in addition to the $50 million announced for 2001-02 in last year's budget, and the increased funding will be spent primarily in the areas of child and youth mental health, workforce development, forensic services and alcohol and drug services.

"We gave implementation of the Blueprint for Mental Health Services a significant boost in the 2000-01 budget with the allocation of $257.4 million over four years for the purchase of specialist mental health services," Mrs King said.

"Work under way now includes more than 100 separate workforce development initiatives, including some specifically targeted at Maori mental health workers, new youth and young adult residential rehabilitation services, child and youth community support services, and child and youth alcohol and drug day programmes. Adult services include additional level 3 residential rehabilitation, consumer-run community centres, increased community support service, and alcohol and drug treatment services."

ENDS

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