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National announces child health initiatives

15 September 2005

Paul Hutchison MP National Party Health Spokesman

National announces child health initiatives

National Party Health spokesman Paul Hutchison today announced a number of National Party child health initiatives.

"An incoming National Government will be committed to addressing a range of child health issues," said Dr Hutchison.

Key elements of National's strategy are:

* Maintaining the current primary healthcare subsidy levels for children and improving them over time.

* Ensuring that all children are fully funded to receive at least eight WellChild checks by 2007/8. Currently, all preschool children are entitled to 6.5 WellChild checks, with some getting more according to need. Plunket is currently contracted to carry out the majority of these checks and National strongly supports their efforts.

* Targeting greater than 95% of children completing their immunisations.

* Committing an additional $3.5 million per year to support the Special Dental Benefits Scheme whereby private dentists will carry out more complicated work on children, and an additional $4.5 million per year to the Adolescent Oral Health Service Agreement to allow teenagers the treatment they need in a timely way. Commit to expanding the dental therapists training programme.

* Expanding the Health Promoting Schools/Preschools initiative started by a previous National Government in 1996. This is expected to cost $2 million per year.

* Ensuring children's surgery is given high priority as part of the $100 million extra allotted to high priority surgery.

"The cost of these initiatives, over and above existing Vote Health allocations, is $10 million and will be funded from the savings resulting from targeting primary health funding for those of working age," said Dr Hutchison.

ENDS

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