Investing in our healthcare system

Column Articles
Friday, June 10, 2016

I am really enjoying my monthly constituent clinics in the settlers hall.  Increasingly the full three hours from 9 am to midday is being used by locals who want to chat about direction of the government or local community.  One of the issues that you have raised is the importance of health spending and improved access for our increasingly vibrantly aging society.  We announced in the budget that DHBs will benefit from an extra $1.6 billion over four years to invest in services, improve access, and to meet cost pressures and population changes. For us in the Bay, this means an extra $32 million for the Bay of Plenty DHB this year which will assist them to help keep our communities healthy.

More doctors and nurses in our DHBs will ensure faster treatment and better experiences for patients and their families. As of 31 March 2016 there were over 310 doctor full-time equivalents and around 1,040 nurse full-time equivalents employed by Bay of Plenty DHB. That’s almost 80 more doctors and 190 more nurses compared to 2008. We have had solid economic growth in the last few years and this has allowed the government to invest resources into healthcare.

As New Zealanders live longer, doing more elective surgery each year is crucial.  Providing New Zealanders with better access to elective surgery will make a real difference to patients and their families. We are delivering 50,000 more electives per year than when we came into office.

With around 3,000 New Zealanders diagnosed with bowel cancer each year the Government is committed to better access to early detection and treatment. Once fully implemented, the programme is expected to screen over 700,000 people every two years.

For me it is about spending more in health provision and ensuring that we get good outcomes for that spending.