From mental health support in every primary and intermediate school to more publicly-funded medicines, Labour’s plan for health will ensure New Zealanders can get quality care.
When we came into Government, we inherited rundown hospitals and health facilities, and a system characterised by glaring health inequalities. We’ve been forced to play catch-up over the past three years, but have worked hard to begin to rebuild our health system - by making record investments in our hospitals and mental health services, making doctor’s visits cheaper for more than half a million people, and setting up a dedicated Cancer Control Agency.
But we know there’s still more to do, and as we deal with the impacts of a global pandemic, it’s more important than ever to properly fund our health system.
We’ve set out the next steps in our plan for health, which will give New Zealanders confidence that Labour will not take shortcuts or cut vital services, while building on the progress we’ve already made to improve our health system after National’s years of neglect. We announced that, if re-elected:
- We’ll put mental health support in every state primary and intermediate school
We’re taking the mental health and wellbeing of New Zealanders seriously. That’s why we’ll roll out this additional support nationwide over five years, to provide all primary and intermediate-aged school children with access to dedicated mental health services. We’ve seen the difference our Mana Ake programme has made in Canterbury and Kaikōura - now we want to make sure all Kiwi kids have access to this support. We’ll also expand the nurses in schools programme in secondary schools, so thousands more students can access support.
- We’ll ensure more publicly-funded medicines for more people
New Zealanders deserve access to modern medicines. Over the past three years, we’ve boosted the budget for medicines, benefiting more than 200,000 people. We’ll provide an extra $200 million in funding for PHARMAC, which will mean more publicly-funded medicines for more New Zealanders.
- We’ll boost funding to reduce waiting lists
We want everyone to be able to get the care they need, when and when they need it. We’ll invest an additional $200 million so that hospitals can continue to deliver more treatment for more people, helping to ensure no one misses out on the care they need.
- We’ll double the number of adult cochlear implants
Cochlear implants benefit people with lower levels of hearing loss, yet many people have to wait for their hearing to get worse before they can access this transformative procedure. We will double the number of publicly-funded cochlear implants undertaken each year, allowing more people access to further opportunities in training, employment and the community.
- We’ll remove barriers to dental care
Cost shouldn’t be a barrier to getting the care you need. That’s why Labour will make it easier for people on the lowest incomes to access urgent dental care, by increasing the maximum Work and Income grant for emergency oral healthcare from $300 to $1000. We’ll also invest in extra mobile dental clinics with full services, so that young people in hard-to-reach areas don’t miss out.
- We’ll modernise our health and disability system
We want New Zealanders to get world-class healthcare. That’s why if re-elected, Labour will fund the transition to a more modern and equitable health system, drawing on the recommendations of the Health and Disability System Review. The changes we need will take time, but they’ll help us make sure every New Zealander can get high quality healthcare when and where they need it.
As we continue to rebuild and recover from COVID-19, supporting the mental health of New Zealanders, staying on top of planned care procedures, and improving our hospitals remain our top priorities. We’re committed to funding our health system properly to keep New Zealanders healthy, make the system more equitable, and keep up with new medical advances - and our plan for health will help us get there.
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