Health the big winner says local GP

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Dr Harry Pert.
Dr Harry Pert.

Health has again been a big winner in the budget, according to Rotorua GP Dr Harry Pert.

Dr Pert said there had been strong support for the health sector in recent budgets and that was continued with today's announcements.

News $39.3 million will go towards the roll-out of a bowel screening programme should be welcomed and would make a "big difference".

He said in the past New Zealand had lagged behind with the early detection. Dr Pert said earlier detection made a huge difference in treatment and outcomes.

Dr Pert said he also applauded the Government's commitment to smokefree with the decision to increase tobacco tax by 10 per cent a year every year. It will mean a packet of cigarettes will rise from $20 to $30 by 2020.

Dr Pert said there was overwhelming evidence that price has been a very important factor in encouraging people to quit.

"You need the stick of the price and the carrot of smoking cessation programmes."Dr Pert said while he wasn't aware of all the details around funding to extra support for the free doctors' visits and prescriptions for under 13s announced in Budget 2014, it was a responsible move.

He said GPs would only be able to continue to provide a high quality free service for the group as long as the funding received maintained its value.

"It means it is much more likely that we can continue to offer that."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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