Focus On Vulnerable Welcomed

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) welcomes the increased spending in health announced in yesterday's Budget, particularly measures to support the most vulnerable in the community, such as the $92 million to pay family members who care for their disabled adult children.

“Social factors, such as housing, play a major part in influencing health,” says NZMA Chair Dr Paul Ockelford, “so the announcement of the extra $100 million over three years for the Healthy Homes insulation programme is also welcomed – particularly the targeting of low-income households with children or high health needs. On top of the $21 million over four years already announced for rheumatic fever prevention, this is a useful investment in the health and future wellbeing of the country’s young people.”

A focus on preventive medicine will also be useful, with more funding for diabetes and heart disease work, including more risk assessments, and increased support for Green Prescriptions as well as a prostate cancer awareness campaign.

“It’s also good to see more investment in the future health workforce, with an extra 20 additional medical student places being funded, along with an increase in the amount available through the Voluntary Bonding Scheme,” said Dr Ockelford.

“We are also looking forward to seeing the details of the Government’s response to the Children's Commission's working group on child poverty, and of the new mothers and babies initiative announced by the Minister in the Budget.”