Hawke's Bay DHB chair Kevin Atkinson is predicting a significant increase in health funding to be announced in today's Budget, but says what that means for the individual DHBs is still unclear.
The coalition Government had signalled that health, with housing and education, would be a priority in the Budget, but warned that there wouldn't be a huge spend up, rather that it would lay the foundations for a more sustainable economy in the future.
Last week Finance Minister Grant Robertson said $42 billion would be invested in net capital spending, including the health sector, over the next five years to support the Government's plan to rebuild New Zealand's infrastructure and critical public services.
Atkinson said how that health investment would be broken down was yet to be seen, noting the increased financial pressure that Hawke's Bay DHB had been under over the past 12 months.
"That's reflected in the prediction we are now facing a $3 million deficit as opposed to a $1.5m surplus," he said.
"Obviously we are doing our very best to manage that."
He said he hoped that investment would go into population-based funding to cover core services, aside from separate costs for the likes of elective surgeries and any new initiatives.
"We are interested in how much will be allocated to current core services because they are under significant pressure due the growth in acute presentations over the last 12 months, and also from the current wage negotiations with nurses and junior and senior doctors to be addressed in the next financial year."
He also predicted some movement in funding for GPs, noting the signals, however, that talk of a $10 reduction in doctor fees promised before the election would probably be more like $3 to $5 going up to $10 over three years.
"There are 80,000 poorly insulated homes in Hawke's Bay - it would be wonderful to see something in the Budget to address that, as it follows through to health and education.
"At the end of the day we just have to play with the cards we are dealt - there may be some great joy or there may be some great disappointment - I hope it will be spread evenly and fairly."