ProCare responds to Budget 2022

ProCare welcomes the budget announcement for healthcare reforms
Leading healthcare provider ProCare has today welcomed the announcement of $5.854m in the next financial year for the establishment of Comprehensive Primary Care Teams.

Bindi Norwell, Chief Executive at ProCare says: “It is great news to see funding earmarked in today’s Budget for the development of comprehensive primary care teams. This is where the future of primary care is heading and is what we’ve been working towards as an organisation for more than a year, since the initial health reforms were announced.

“This forward-thinking approach to healthcare puts people at the heart of primary care and means less travelling between locations to visit different health and wellbeing providers.

ProCare also supports allocations for equitable health outcomes in Primary Care.

Dr Allan Moffitt, ProCare Clinical Director and GP at The Fono, says: “It’s encouraging to see additional funding earmarked to equitably allocate Primary Care funding across General Practices with large high-needs populations. We have been expecting a modified capitation formula for several years and this is well overdue. It will be interesting to see how this directly impacts practices on a day-to-day basis and what the further details are.”

“We also welcome the funding allocated to programmes that support affordable access to Primary Care for low-income New Zealanders such as the Zero Fees for Under 14s and have been proposing changes to the Very Low Cost Access scheme.

“With the rising costs of living it’s imperative we keep healthcare affordable so people can access the care they need,” says Moffitt.

However, ProCare is questioning how the $4.794 million allocated in year one for the Service Integration of locality provider networks will work.

“While just shy of $5 million sounds like a lot, the reality is that this figure is meant to cover network integration and change management to enable the delivery of joint, multidisciplinary services within locality provider networks and back-office roles for bringing providers and services together to complement local comprehensive primary care teams. This appears to be quite an ask for the level of funding, meaning it may be thinly spread across primary care providers. It’s important that this can deliver on the objectives in relation to this significant change in the health sector,” he concludes.

ProCare welcomes the reduction in age of bowel screening for Māori and Pacific patients; long overdue
Leading healthcare provider ProCare has today welcomed the reduction in the age of bowel screening for Māori and Pacific patients from 60 to 50 with an additional $10.096 million in the next financial year.

Dr Allan Moffitt, Clinical Director at ProCare says: “This decision has been long overdue, and we have been lobbying for this reduction in screening age for a number of years now.

“Bowel cancer affects Māori and Pasifika patients at a much earlier age than non-Māori and Pasifika, so screening at a lower age makes sense, will significantly reduce the inequities in our health system and ultimately save lives,” he concludes.

ProCare welcomes Budget funding for warm, dry homes to reduce respiratory issues
Leading healthcare provider ProCare has today welcomed funding in today’s Budget to ensure Kiwis can live in warmer, dryer homes. This is one of the biggest determinants of health and is one of the key measures we can take to prevent hospitalisations – particularly for our tamariki.

Bindi Norwell, Chief Executive at ProCare says: “Our Population Health data for avoidable hospitalisations (ASH rate) for children aged between 0-4 years shows that our most vulnerable children suffer more readily from respiratory conditions including asthma, pneumonia, and skin conditions that are largely preventable from warm and dry housing.

“We welcome the Government's allocations of $16 million towards proactive investigation and enforcement of the Healthy Homes Standards,” she continues.

“The Government has also allocated $30 million towards extending the reach of the Healthy Homes initiative to increase the current per whānau funding. This will extend funding across all DHBs, making this a national programme. This investment will assist in preventing these avoidable hospitalisations.

“In addition to the Healthy Homes initiative, $120 million is allocated to extending the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme. This initiative provides grants for low-income homeowners to retrofit insulation and heating in their homes. We are pleased to see funding extended as warm, dry homes reduces the risk of respiratory conditions for our vulnerable communities,” she concludes.

ProCare disappointed nurses left out in the cold in Budget 22
Leading healthcare provider, ProCare is disappointed that primary care nurses have been left out of today’s Budget announcement.

Gabrielle Lord, Nursing Director and General Manager Practice Services, at ProCare says: “Nurses have been the backbone of caring for patients while we’ve dealt with the global pandemic over the last two years, so to see no additional funding for this imperative part of our healthcare workforce is devastating.

“This is even more true when you consider the state of the ongoing pay equity settlements,” she points out.

“We urgently need more money for our nurses, and they need to be paid the same rate as their DHB colleagues,” she concludes. 

ProCare Fresh Minds supportive of additional budget announced for Mental Health and Addiction support 
Tāmaki Makaurau’s primary mental health and wellbeing service, ProCare Fresh Minds, is supportive of the additional budget earmarked in today’s budget announcement for Mental Health and Addiction support.

$100 million has been budgeted to increase availability of specialist mental health and addiction services to help support people with specific needs in targeted areas across the country.

Tania Wilson, General Manager at ProCare Fresh Minds says: “Over the last two years, we have seen an increasing number of clients coming through with anxiety issues, particularly in young adults and new mothers.

“Focusing on strengthening primary and community care, and our specialist service will help ease pressure on the already overloaded mental health services across the country. We look forward to seeing what this extended budget can help achieve over the coming years, as we continue to focus on extending our primary mental health and addiction support offerings,” continues Wilson. 

 The extended support for programmes such as Mana Ake ($90 million) and Piki ($12.25 million) is promising in showing that a focus has further shifted to early intervention and prevention for mental health issues with New Zealand’s youth.

The mental health of many New Zealanders has suffered over the past few years, largely in part due to COVID-19 and the decreased social interactions and social support that we would otherwise be used to.

Bindi Norwell, Group Chief Executive at ProCare says: “It is promising to see a more holistic approach being taken toward mental health and wellbeing, with a specific focus on our youth population. Providing our tamariki the skills and support to deal with issues early, will hopefully enable them to carry these skills with them through life, and build a more resilient New Zealand.”

ProCare welcomes big boost in PHARMAC budget, however is it enough?
Leading healthcare provider ProCare has today welcomed the big boost to PHARMAC funding, being the biggest in history, however questions whether it is enough, given inflation is sitting at 6.9%.

Bindi Norwell, Group Chief Executive at ProCare says: “ProCare is pleased to see the biggest budget increase for PHARMAC in 30 years, and we hope that this will help more New Zealanders access the medication they require to live a healthy life.”

Dr Allan Moffitt, Clinical Director at ProCare says: “While we see consultation has begun for a number of proposals to fund drugs for breast and blood cancer, multiple sclerosis, hormone replacement, and HIV, we would like to see what developments occur over the next 12 to 24 months regarding additional medications to be added to the list.

“We acknowledge the great work PHARMAC does and recognise that there will always be some medicines and treatments that are not feasible to fund or secure. However, New Zealand is falling behind the rest of the world when it comes to some standard treatments for somewhat common disorders/diseases, such as trikafta for cystic fibrosis, or continuous glucose monitors for type one diabetics,” concludes Moffitt.

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