Nurses' union NZNO leaders are describing as "irresponsible" an estimated $101 million funding shortfall in national health services – like public health and workforce training – included in the latest CTU budget analysis
At the weekend the Council of Trade Unions released their analysis of the government's May 25 health budget which estimated that Vote Health 2017 was over all $215 million behind on what it should be to cover new services, increased costs and population growth compared to the previous year's Budget. Including that district health boards' were estimated to be $107 million below what was needed and national health services were $101 million behind.
Memo Musa, the chief executive of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, said the CTU analysis health workforce training, contracted services, maternity services and public health service funding alone were short $36 million.
Grant Brookes, the NZNO president, said the lack of investment in the workforce might be the "tipping point that triggers many in an aging nurse workforce to hang up their boots".
“New Zealand is facing new public health threats because of the increased movement of people, animals and food around the world, and this, combined with environmental effects of climate change mean the public health budget must incorporate funds for these contingencies,” he said.
Musa said inadequate funding for preventive healthcare and community nursing resulted in more people going to the hospitals "which was not the way to keep New Zealanders well, or the best use of public funds".
“Public health is yet again on the receiving end of cuts when the evidence points to this being an area of increasing need and means our more vulnerable people missing out. He said preventable diseases were on the rise and public education and upskilling were vital to stop spreading fatal diseases.
The CTU and Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) analysis of the Vote Health budget is available at: http://www.union.org.nz/did-the-budget-provide-enough-for-health-2017/
An earlier CTU and ASMS analysis of new mental health funding is available at: https://www.asms.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Budget-2017-mental-health-funding-boost-a-cut-in-real-terms_168083.3.pdf