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Budgeting help should go further

15 August 2011

Budgeting help should go further

The Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand (Inc) welcomes the proposal, announced by the National Party in the weekend, to review the support given to 16 to 18 year old beneficiaries when it comes to managing money received from the Government, but says that the proposal does not go far enough.

The Government needs to also consider taking a greater interest in the budgeting problems experienced by other welfare beneficiaries, especially mental health patients and parents, the Guild said today.

Guild Chief Executive, Annabel Young, says the National Party’s proposal to manage the way that recipients use welfare payments should lead to a much more managed system of welfare payments.

Ms Young says member pharmacies often report that many mental health patients face difficulty managing their budgets and paying for their prescribed medication.

“It is in the interests of the whole community that mental health patients can pick up their medicines when they need them, even if they lack the budgeting skills to ensure that they have the right money on the day.”

“Another group is parents on welfare with sick children. Pharmacists occasionally encounter cases where the parents have not budgeted for medicines for their children.”

The Government is promising extra money management support and services for 16 and 17 year olds on benefits and also for 18 year old teen parents. The managed system of payments is expected to include some essential costs, like rent and power, being paid directly.

Ms Young says the idea that money for basic living costs like food and groceries – as well as medicines - being loaded onto a payment card that can only be used to buy certain types of goods could also work to ensure those in need receive their medicines.

ENDS

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