Midwives, hospitals and GP visits - the cash injections of Budget 2018

Health was a major winner in what could be described as a careful Budget, with an injection of $4 billion over the next four years. 

$3.2 billion has been boosted into operating costs and $850 million has been allocated into capital. 

In that, $2.3b goes to DHBs, 600,000 low income New Zealanders will get cheaper GP visits, and free GP visits for children will now be eligible to 13 year olds, raising the previous cut-off date by a year. 

Fixing hospitals

Health Minister David Clark said $750m would go into fixing "the most urgent" building problems of hospitals, and $100m will be available if necessary in the 2018/19 year "to strengthen DHB balance sheets through deficit support". 

DHBs

$2.2b has been put to "lay the foundations for stronger, more sustainably funded DHBs", Dr Clark said. 

$126m has also been put into operational funding over the next four years "to keep up with demand for elective surgeries and other proceedures". 

GP visits

Free GP visits for children will now be eligible to 13 year olds and Budget 2018 also includes an extension of "very low" GP visits to Community Service card holders, and allocates the card to all Housing NZ tenants, Kiwis who receive an accommodation supplement or other rent subsidies based on income.

"This will make going to the GP cheaper by up to $30 for 540,000 people eligible for the Community Services Card."

Dr Clark said the two initiatives require $362.7m and "will have a major impact on people's health and wellbeing". 

Midwives

A new package has been created to help community-based midwives. 

$103.6m goes to operating funds over the next four years, and also $9m in the 2018/19 period. 

"About half of that funding will go towards an 8.9 per cent 'catch-up' increase in fees for over 1,400 lead maternity carers," Dr Clark said. 

Air Ambulance

Over $60m will go to strengthing the air ambulance service. 

The government hopes the fresh investment will raise the quality of New Zealand's health system. Source: 1 NEWS

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