Reaction to today's Government budget announcement from Chris Fleming, CEO, Southern DHB


Today’s budget was good news for health. Additional funding in health is always welcome, and this budget directs resources to areas we know are under pressure, which will be significantly appreciated.


We were particularly pleased to see the investments being made in primary care – this is critical to ensuring health care is accessible, equitable and appropriate for our communities. In particular, we welcome the extension of very low cost GP visits to all those with community services cards, and the opportunity this will offer those for whom cost is a barrier to accessing the care they need. The moves to provide greater accessibility to mental health services for young people are also welcome.


The budget also recognises the pressure midwifery community has been under, and will make a difference to ensuring the sustainability of this important workforce.


It also increases core funding to DHBs which will go some way to recognising the tremendous financial pressure all District Health Boards are presently under.


We are yet to learn the details of the announcements, and therefore are not yet in a position to say how it will impact services at Southern DHB. This will become clearer in the coming weeks, and will be factored into our planning for 2018/19 and beyond accordingly.


There are still significant cost pressures within the health system, and this does not solve all the challenges we face.


However, it’s the most positive news we’ve had for some time from an operating perspective, and it will make a difference in critical areas. Coupled with the new Dunedin Hospital on the horizon, we can certainly feel buoyed about our direction of travel, and look forward to making best use of these opportunities to enhance the health services in our community.