Richard Forgan –
After two years of strong increases in funding, healthcare has benefitted from further announcements in today’s Budget. The Government has committed $2.2 billion over the next four years to relieve demand pressures.
District Health Boards have seen the lion’s share of this funding, with $1.6 billion to cover an increasing population and new services. Further funding has also been announced for disability support services ($169 million), while another $124 million will be directed towards Pharmac and, presumably, some of the recent noise around advanced medicines.
This budget has really been about keeping up with population growth and we see that again when we look at healthcare.
While this funding is sizable, it really is about continuing to deliver a high level of care to New Zealanders.
Healthcare has also been the subject of a number of smaller measures that will also keep up with population growth. These include (1) $96 million for more elective surgeries, slightly below the $98 million for these surgeries in last year’s Budget (2) $73 million for primary healthcare, including extra support for free doctor’s visits for under 13 years of age (3) A national bowel screening programme with $39 million in funding (4) $15 million for air and road ambulance services.
These new efforts continue the narrative we have seen over the last few years, with a mix of initiatives targeted on particular pain points, and funding for general DHB cost pressures.
Richard Forgan is Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers New Zealand