Wellington, August 1, 2017
One of the most rewarding aspects of my job as Prime Minister is getting to see first-hand how our healthcare system is making a difference in Kiwi’s lives, and in some cases, helping to save them.
One example where this Government is making a difference is in detecting bowel cancer – the second most common cause of cancer death.
Every year, around 3000 New Zealanders are diagnosed with bowel cancer, and more than 1200 die from it.
We have invested almost $78 million into a free National Bowel Screening Programme that will be progressively rolled-out across New Zealand over the next three years.
This programme will help to detect up to 700 bowel cancers each year at an early stage – making treatment easier and the outcomes more successful.
Once this programme is fully implemented across New Zealand, more than 700,000 people aged between 60 and 74 will be invited to take part in the programme every two years.
Health Check for children
We are also committed to helping children get the healthiest start in life.
Our B4 School Checks initiative includes free hearing, eyesight, height, weight and oral health assessments for children before they start primary school.
We also want all children to access GP services when they require them and so more than 780,000 children under the age of 13 are now eligible for free GP visits as well as free prescriptions.
Our immunisation policies have helped ensure more Kiwi kids are immunised, and now immunisation coverage for eight-month-olds is 93%, and rheumatic fever cases have decreased by 37%.
These are among many investments the National-led Government has made to ensure we are continuing to deliver better, faster, more convenient health services that Kiwis need.
Budget 2017 invested an extra $3.9 billion into health over four years, taking the total health investment to a record $16.8 billion: reiterating that delivering better health services remains this Government’s number one funding priority.
This includes an additional $60 million for Pharmac to provide more access to new medicines, and $52 million extra for emergency ambulance services.
This extra funding has seen over 6900 more doctors and nurses in our hospitals since 2008, and has resulted in over 50,000 more surgeries are being performed a year than when we came into government – a 40% increase.
The National-led Government is committed to health, and we are working hard to deliver on our plan to create a world-class health system.
Bill English is Prime Minister of New Zealand. He is seen here at the Acurity Bowen Hospital new Bowen Icon Cancer Centre, Wellington on July 27, 2017 with (from left) Health Minister Jonathan Coleman, Site Manager Darien Montgomerie and Acurity Chief Executive Dr Ian England.