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Guild welcomes Budget 2022, but work remains to address pressures

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand (the Guild) welcomes Budget 2022 and the funding support that this provides for the government’s health system reforms to establish a nationwide health system that will provide quality services wherever you live and that will address longstanding inequities.

Guild Chief Executive Andrew Gaudin says, "While there are no funding commitments specifically tagged to community pharmacy, the government has committed significant new annual funding that totals $1,276 million to address cost and volume pressures in 2022/23. This represents around 80% of the total budgeted annual increase in Budget 2022 for Health.

"In the balance of new budgeted funding for Health, there are a number of important policy initiatives across primary and community care services, including the establishment of comprehensive primary care teams, service integration for locality provider networks, as well as needed investments in key system enablers for data and digital, and workforce development.

"We welcome the creation of a separate appropriation for primary, community, public health and population services, which is distinct from hospital and specialist services. This will provide increased transparency of investments made over time to improve the health and wellbeing outcomes of all New Zealanders. Similarly, the introduction of two-

year funding commitments to provide increased funding certainty for the future is a positive step, as our new health system works towards a fully costed three-year New Zealand Health Plan in 2024.

"We do however remain concerned that hospital and specialist services continue to dominate the allocation of new investment funding within Health, with the increase in annual funding to address cost and volume pressures for hospital and specialist services equating to a 9.0% annual funding increase. The increase in annual funding to address cost and volume pressures across primary, community, public health and population services only equates to a 4.1% annual funding increase. This continues a concerning and longstanding trend that needs to be reversed. It is our expectation that there will be a proportionately greater investment in primary, community, public health and population health services over time. This will be vital to seeking an increased emphasis on wellbeing and enabling all New Zealanders to keep healthy, well and out of hospital.

"We now look forward to continuing our work with the government and engaging actively with the new entities currently being established, to support successful delivery on the bold and welcomed policy intentions that underpin the health system reforms and Budget 2022."

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