Health budget 2022: New entities financed, Pharmac boosted, dental subsidies increased

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It starts with a record $1.8 billion first-year funding increase that Health Minister Andrew Little says will help new health entities get off to a “good start” when they start. to operate from July 1.

This means tackling DHB’s current deficits, estimated at $550 million at the end of this fiscal year. It will also enable health organizations to respond to demographic changes resulting from New Zealand’s aging population and to make general improvements to services.

The minister said this investment allows both organizations to succeed.

“For the first time, there will be funding certainty for two years with a rolling increase in operational funding of $1.8 billion in the first year, and another rolling increase in operational funding of $1.3 billion for already next year. Budget 2022 transforms the way we fund our public health service in New Zealand.

“Having the certainty of two years of budgets, as part of a total of $11.1 billion over the forecast period, will allow Health NZ and the Māori Health Authority to continue delivering the type of health system that provides the care New Zealanders need and deserve.”

To help more Kiwis before they need hospital treatment — and ease the strain on hospitals — the budget is investing $102 million in community health care.

“This investment will expand primary health care teams across the country and allow GPs to work more seamlessly with services such as physiotherapists, pharmacists and social workers to deliver more important care, earlier and better. closer to home.”

These GPs in “high-needs areas” are receiving $86 million in new funding over four years so they can offer more appointments and improve their hours of operation.

There is also $76 million over four years to take care of the national workforce. This includes covering approximately 1,500 additional training places for primary care, including nursing, physiotherapy, pharmacists and optical services.

“Combined, this is a significant investment in growing and retaining medical staff to help make these healthcare reforms a success,” Little said.

Approximately $1.3 billion in capital funding over the next two years will go to new and existing projects to improve hospital infrastructure. This includes investing in rebuilding hospitals in Whangarei, Nelson and Hillmorton.

Maori health

Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare announced $168 million over four years for the Māori Health Authority to commission services directly.

“What Maori have always wanted is a health system that takes care of them and meets their needs in a way that makes them feel comfortable, but that is not what our system of health has provided to date.

“Maori deserve to live longer and healthier lives, and that is why this government is reforming our health system and why we have created a new Maori Health Authority as part of the reform.”

There is an additional $20.1 million over four years to support the development of iwi-Māori partnership councils to “ensure that the voice of iwi and whanau is strongly represented in our new health system”.

“We are also investing $39 million to provide Maori health workers with additional access to training and development to support them within the new health system, so they can continue to provide much-needed services to whānau Maori in across Aotearoa.”

The budget also provides $107 million for the Department for People with Disabilities – which begins in July – and $11 million for more people with disabilities to access services.

Health services

Beyond funding new health entities, workforces and infrastructure, the government has announced what it says is the biggest ever increase to Pharmac’s drug budget.

The additional $191 million over the next two years will allow the drug-buying agency to “secure as many drugs as possible on its list, with a focus on better cancer treatments,” it said. Little.

Low-income families will benefit from increased dental subsidies from $300 to $1,000, as part of Labour’s 2020 election pledges.

“Many low-income New Zealanders are struggling to afford immediate and essential dental care, and increasing the level of the grant will allow more people to receive the urgent help they need,” said said Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

“Lower income people who are eligible will see the amount available more than triple, and dental care should no longer be reserved for emergencies only.”

But some emergency services are also getting attention, with $166.1 million over four years to support road ambulance services and $90.7 million over four years for air ambulance services.

“Budget 2022 provides for the addition of 48 ambulances and 13 other vehicles to New Zealand’s road ambulance fleet and allows for the recruitment of up to 248 additional paramedics and frontline staff to support emergency services. road ambulance. This includes 22 employees for the communications center which responds to 111 calls.”

Air ambulance funding will replace aging aircraft with at least one new helicopter with additional crew.

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