Delivering better, sooner, more convenient healthcare

 Prime Minister’s weekly column 

Since we came into office in 2008, National has been focused on making a positive difference in the areas that matter to New Zealand families. This week I’m pleased to update you on the progress we’ve made in health. The health of our families is important to all of us, so delivering and protecting our health service is a priority for the National-led Government. So while many developed countries around the world…… are freezing or reducing health funding, we’re spending more on it than any other New Zealand Government in history.

In Budget 2013, our public health services received the biggest increase in funding. We allocated $1.6 billion over four years, boosting our total health spending to a record $14.7 billion. To track how our investment is paying off, we’ve set national health targets that balance our focus on helping New Zealanders prevent major illnesses and improving access to health services.  District health boards are required to report their progress against the targets four times a year. The latest results were released last week and are encouraging. Record numbers of New Zealanders are being assessed for heart disease, diabetes and pre-diabetes, and we’re seeing more people get help to quit smoking and more parents immunise their babies.

The figures also showed that more people are receiving elective surgeries such as knee replacements and cataract surgery. In the past year, 158,000 elective surgeries were delivered by public hospital funding – over 10,000 more than planned. Our investment is about ensuring that we continue to meet New Zealand’s cost pressures and population growth in terms of health services, while funding new care initiatives. We have made it our priority to deliver and protect our public health service, so that New Zealanders are getting the services they need. We’re focused on delivering better, sooner, more convenient healthcare, as part of the brighter future we are determined to build for you and your family.