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Government Must Accept the Case for Health as an Investment

New Government Must Accept the Case for Health as an Investment

Whichever political grouping forms the next Government must start seeing health and social service funding as an investment in wellbeing and productivity, not as a fiscal cost.

The Public Health Association of New Zealand (PHA) joins the NZMA’s call in its ‘Health is Investment’ statement for the health system to have the resources it needs to attend to the needs of the whole population.

“As long as Government fails to address the underlying causes of illness – poverty, inadequate housing, uncertain work, and educational failure, the health system only will continue to require greater investment”, says Warren Lindbergh, PHA Chief Executive.

The NZMA points out that since most of the determinants of health lie outside the health sector, health services will continue to have to pick up the pieces resulting from of poor policies elsewhere.

As the population grows, ages, and becomes more diverse, cost saving simply results in greater pressure on health services. Health services are way beyond reducing costs through so-called ‘efficiencies’.

“The inevitable result”, says Mr Lindberg, “is a cycle of stressed staff, more mistakes, higher staff turnover, delayed treatment and poor quality care.

The New Zealand Health Strategy promotes investment in prevention as well as care, but so long as the nation fails to invest in prevention health providers will continue to stretch budgets to respond to the demand for treatment and care.


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