No Budget signal on change to primary care 

Thursday 25 May 2017


The Budget released by finance minister Steven Joyce today contains a relatively small increase for the primary care subsidy programmes the sector has been desperate to see reformed.With health getting a record allocation of $16.773 billion, the annual adjustment for Ministry of Health programmes like the Very Low

With health getting a record allocation of $16.773 billion, the annual adjustment for Ministry of Health programmes like the Very Low Cost Access subsidy is not as generous as last year’s. It will provide $9.585 million ($38.34 million over four years).

Last year’s annual adjustment was $14.3 million a year, which continues for three more years.

Mr Joyce spoke of big capital spending and ongoing surpluses, and acknowledged DHBs will benefit most from the growth in health spending.DHBs get their usual 75

DHBs get their usual 75 per cent share of the spending, and are to receive $1.76 billion more over four years, starting this year (an annual increase of $439 million). The increase is for demographic and cost pressures.

Increase for mental health $ 100 million over four years

It includes $100 million more for DHBs to do more in mental health over the four years – an area where they and the Government have had huge criticism.
Other new initiatives include $2 million in extra support for Health Workforce New Zealand. Budget documents show 180 firstyear GP trainees will be supported.

Last year, the number of medical workforce trainees the Budget anticipated subsidising was 2204. This time, on medical postgrads, the Budget talks of “training units for vocational registrars” being greater than or equal to 1206, plus 490 firstyears.

New funds will support DHBs to do elective surgeries ($6 million a year).

The Government has lined up numerous capital projects, such as Christchurch Hospital, in what it says will total $2.3 billion for health facilities in coming years. Just $150 million is newly provided for such investments this year.

Mr Joyce is forecasting a surplus of $2.9 billion and more surpluses in the years ahead.

Extra cash for bowel cancer screening

Bowel cancer screening gets an extra dollop of cash. In a media release, health minister Jonathan Coleman says $38.5 million over four years is added so Southern and Counties Manukau DHBs can be supported to join the national programme in the coming year.Much of the new health spending has already been flagged. Growth was needed to allow the Government to increase care workers’

Much of the new health spending has already been flagged. Growth was needed to allow the Government to increase care workers’ wages after a court case and negotiations. This led it to set aside $1.384 billion over four years in the Budget.More for Pharmac ($60 million over four years) and ambulance services ($52.3 million) have previously been announced.

More for Pharmac ($60 million over four years) and ambulance services ($52.3 million) have previously been announced.The total in new health initiatives is $974.375 million, including $100 million for the mental health focus of the social investment

The total in new health initiatives is $974.375 million, including $100 million for the mental health focus of the social investment package already announced. This will support innovative approaches.While the Government can talk

While the Government can talk of about $879 million more for the year ahead, this doesn’t quite stack up when compared with the expected actual spending in the year to 30 June 2017.

After adjustments, the 2016/17 spend is expected to hit $16.649 billion, so the Budget’s $16.773 billion for health isn’t a huge amount in excess of this.It was a Budget with tax threshold adjustments favouring the lower and

It was a Budget with tax threshold adjustments favouring the lower and middleincome earner. In a media release, prime minister Bill

English said changes to Working for Families and accommodation supplements that would also lift incomes.

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No Budget signal on change to primary care funding setup

 
 
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