Health spending is the headliner of the 2018 budget, with an extra $750 million allocated to capital spending and an additional $3.2 billion to operational funding over the next 4 years. The Minister described this as “bread and butter funding”. The new capital is slated to replace and refurbish hospitals and healthcare facilities. The additional operational funding is ticketed against a long list, including:
- relieve pressure on the DHBs
- free up queues for elective surgery
- boost fees for midwives
- improve air ambulance services
- extend bowel cancer screening
- pilot an integrated therapies mental health scheme for young people
Free doctors’ visits for everyone under the age of 14 and low-cost GP visits for all community service card holders will help make it an easier decision for many to seek primary health care.