Budget 2024: Boost for primary care welcomed, but more details needed on how funding will be allocated

30 May 2024

Category: Media releases

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In an opinion piece published yesterday, 麻豆视频入口 President Dr Samantha Murton and Medical Director Dr Luke Bradford stressed that although our primary care teams are the 鈥榤asters of pivot鈥 for how we can adapt to the changing and diverse needs of our patients, the workforce has now 鈥渞eached the limit of change without significant investment.鈥

The announcement of $2.2 billion over the next four years for primary, community and public health care is welcomed in principle by the College, along with the commitment of $5.5 billion from both the 2025 and 2026 Budgets which acknowledges that the work we do to improve the health of 麻豆视频入口ers is valued.

However, the College notes Te Whatu Ora鈥檚 report that was sent to the health minister in January this year saying that the primary care sector requires a funding boost of between $353 million and 1.36 billion to address unmet need. The funding announcement today is not enough to meet this requirement.

College President and Wellington GP Dr Samantha Murton says, 鈥淲e challenged the Government to have the courage to invest more in primary care and in the health of 麻豆视频入口ers. What we saw today was step in the right direction, but we would have like to have heard more specifics about exactly how the funding will address the well-documented issues we have raised over the past few years.

鈥淚t is disappointing to once again see the biggest slice of funding going to hospital services, instead of being reprioritised into primary care. You cannot prevent someone from being hospitalised once they are already in hospital, it needs to be prevented in the community and in primary care.鈥

The Newsroom opinion piece reminded readers that although this sounds like a big job, it is what primary care is meant to do; diagnose, treat and prevent illness in the community and closer to home.

College Medical Director Dr Luke Bradford says, 鈥淲e鈥檒l be looking to Health Minister Dr Shane Reti to provide further detail on how this $2.2 billion will be split between primary and community care, public health and increased breast screening services, so we can understand how it will actually impact specialist GPs, rural hospital doctors, our communities and patients.鈥

The College looks forward to working with Minister Reti and our primary care colleagues to work through how and when this funding can be used to both sustain and grow the workforce and provide patients with greater access to our services right across Aotearoa.