Health in Rotorua a big Budget winner

By Rebecca Malcolm, Kyra Dawson

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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 early detection, which he said made a huge difference in treatment and outcomes.

Dr Pert 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 had 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."

New funding for Lakes DHB in Budget 2016 increases the DHB's total allocation to a record level, says Health Minister Jonathan Coleman.

Lakes DHB will receive an extra $15 million in new money this year, taking the total funding to $322 million for 2016/17. That's an extra $76 million in funding over the last eight years.

Board acting chief executive Nick Saville-Wood said funding targeted at vulnerable populations was especially important considering the deprivation levels in the Lakes area.

"Two of Lakes DHB's top priorities focus on mental health and the first 1000 days of a child's life, so the initiatives proposed in the Budget are particularly welcome and relevant to us."

Board chairman Deryck Shaw said they were all feeling very positive about the extra money.

"I think it's fantastic... it will mean that there's more support available, we can get the access to people quicker and we can get the resources quicker.

"Over all we are supportive of the additional resources going into health and we will do our best to deliver and increase our services around the lakes community with all the resources we have got."

New measures
? Lakes DHB to receive an extra $15 million this year
? $124 million for Pharmac to provide more access to new medicines.
?$96 million to provide more elective surgery, a key Government priority.
? $39.3 million to start the roll-out of a bowel screening programme.
?$42 million for vulnerable groups:
? $18 million to expand the Healthy Homes Initiative which aims to reduce preventable diseases in young children;
? $12 million to increase support for primary care and social services to enable people to access mental health help earlier;
? $12 million to expand a successful programme which provides intensive alcohol and drug support for pregnant women.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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