19 May 2011

New spending found for health

10:11 pm on 19 May 2011

The Government has found an extra $585 million for new health initiatives in the coming year.

Health Minister Tony Ryall said $420 million of that is new money, with the rest coming from savings that are being poured back into health.

District Health Boards will get about $400 million to run public hospitals and other programmes, it was announced in Thursday's Budget.


As promised, National is providing $18 million to fund 40 more medical training places at the country's two medical training universities, in Auckland and Dunedin.

The voluntary bonding scheme for doctors, nurses and midwives, receives an extra $1 million next year, but that is to cover the intake to date rather than to expand the scheme.

A further $80 million has been provided to further widen access to medicines.

The Government is continuing its push to increase elective (non-urgent) surgery with a $68 million boost over four years.

Dementia care

An extra $40 million will be spent over four years on providing almost 200 beds in dementia care and extra respite care.

Another $4 million of new money is going to providing extra respite care for full-time carers of people with dementia.

Mr Ryall has said in the past that there are 41,000 New Zealanders living with dementia and this is expected to increase to 77,000 by 2026.

Mental health gets a $40 million boost over the next four years.

New initiatives also include $130 million for disability support services, and $80 million more to come from DHBs to subsidise doctors' visits.

$108m savings in next financial year

Budget papers show that in the next financial year, savings made in the sector will total $108.5 million. These savings are being put back into health.

Of this, $39 million is being saved over the next four years on workforce training and administration efficiencies gained from centralisation in Health Workforce New Zealand.

Staff cuts and efficiencies at the Health Ministry save $20 million over four years.

Vaccine price savings and lower-than-planned volumes for some vaccines, such as HPV, save $19.4 million over the same period.

Changes to the timing and approvals of environmental water projects will save $18.6 million in the next financial year.

Under-spending in health from the current year has yielded $118 million and unused contingency funding that's no longer required $30 million over the next four years.

Changes to contracting of services has saved $72 million over five years.

Total budgeted health spending is now $13.9 billion - a 4.3% rise on last year's budgeted spending.