A more targeted approach to funding health care and a continued focus on health education programmes are two of the big items on local health professionals' wish lists ahead of the Budget.

Rotorua GP Harry Pert said his biggest wish when the Budget was announced on Thursday was to see a return to a more targeted approach for financial assistance of health care.

He wanted to see the community services card give those who needed more support.

Dr Pert said while the card still existed, its benefits had been reduced as the Government opted for a more universal subsidy.


"I'd like to see the money go to the people who really need it."

Dr Pert said while he believed there was good support for those quitting smoking, he wanted to see much better debate around obesity and sugar.

Tipu Ora executive manager Raewyn Bourne would like to see continued support of those who were vulnerable. A key focus was making sure existing programmes, such as the services provided under Tamariki Ora, continued to be supported.

Social housing and making sure homes were warm and safe and there was enough food in the cupboards was an area which impacted on health, she said.

Ms Bourne said there needed to be a greater focus on preventing health problems through education and health literacy.

"We need programmes and education so people make better choices."

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She said that was especially true around healthy eating and sugar-free drinks. The issue of obesity was not just a looming health crisis but had "actually arrived", she said.

"I'd like to see a lot of knowledge go into the community so they can make better choices."

Lakes District Health Board acting chief executive Nick Saville-Wood said relative to many other parts of the country, the Lakes area had higher levels of deprivation.

He said the burden of disease was unfairly distributed with long term conditions and risk factors such as smoking contributing to serious health disparity.

"We are committed to reducing or eliminating the effects of health disparities through, first, identifying them and, secondly, through funding and providing universal programmes which include a focus on reducing disparities as well as specific programmes that target disparities and improve access to services."