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Guild sees Budget 2018 will help increase access to primary health care

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand (the Guild) sees the increase in Vote Health spend announced in Budget 2018 will increase access to primary health care services and supports landing a favourable outcome in ongoing community pharmacy contract negotiations.

Guild Chief Executive, Andrew Gaudin says "Increasing the health spend benefits the wellbeing of many New Zealanders and we are encouraged by the Government’s commitment to rebuild our health services as their top priority.

"This budget is expected to increase access to affordable and high-quality health care services, at all times, for those who need it.

"We note that DHBs have received $2.3 billion more over the next four years. DHBs’ funding in 2018/19 is effectively 4.3% higher than in 2017/18, prior to new policy initiatives.

"While no funding has been directly allocated to community pharmacy, we hope that DHBs will see value in investing in patient-centric pharmacy services with the funding that has been set aside for them and we see this funding increase should enable more surety in negotiations about the new pharmacy services contract.

"We are pleased to see a significant investment in primary health care, including increased access to very low-cost GP visits for community service card holders. This, plus the free doctor visits, after hours care and prescriptions for under-14s, could have a flow on effect of more people being able to afford to pick up prescriptions from their pharmacy.

"We also look forward to future budget announcements for mental health and addiction services following the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry priorities being identified."

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