NZMA Thursday 24 May 2012, 4:02PM
Media release from NZMA
The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) supports initiatives
announced in today's Budget to enhance the quality delivery of
health services and to strengthen preventive health to improve
"We recognise that the Government is operating under financial
constraints so it is particularly pleasing to see that health has
received the largest increase in government spending," says NZMA
Deputy Chair Dr Mark Peterson.
"We are encouraged to see initiatives that focus on preventive
health, particularly in relation to children with money committed
to strengthen maternity services, Plunketline and WellChild
services, as well as free after-hours doctors' visits for
under-sixes. The evidence clearly shows that good health in
childhood will often determine health status throughout one's life.
It is vital we work to improve child health statistics and reduce
preventable illnesses and hospital admissions."
"Social factors, such as housing, play a major part in influencing
health so the announcement that more resources will go towards the
Warm-Up New Zealand home insulation fund is welcomed."
"In terms of focusing on prevention we commend the Government for
the tough stance it has taken on tobacco and support the increase
in tobacco excise taxes."
"The price increases to date have led to a reduction in smoking
rates, and less uptake of smoking among adolescents. As doctors we
see first hand the detrimental effect that smoking has on an
individual's health. The Government's goal of a smoke free New
Zealand by 2025 is one the NZMA fully endorses, and price rises
along with other measures such as plain tobacco packaging, are
moving us closer to the smokefree vision."
Extra Government funding over the next four years for more elective
operations and scans, and improved cancer services, will further
reduce waiting times for patients.
"It is particularly pleasing to see the Government investing in IT
systems to facilitate faster access to diagnostic tests to assess
whether patients need an operation or treatment. As the health
sector moves towards offering more health services at the community
level, and better integrating community and hospital care, better
information gathering and sharing is essential."
Dr Peterson says that the NZMA is pleased that a recommendation
from the NZ Cardiac Network will be implemented for a $4 million
national register of patients treated for heart conditions, to
improve the quality of care across hospitals. "We would like to see
more clinical networks formed into the future and clinical