What does the 2017 Budget mean for Hauora Tairāwhiti?

29 May 2017

Jim GreenLast Thursday was Budget day for the government. The Minister of Finance announced significant funding increases for DHBs and other parts of the health sector. Catching up funding for DHBs to counter the already experienced growth in costs is included. The government will also invest in a number of priority areas such as the pay equity settlement for care workers, increasing payment rates for Lead Maternity Carers in the community, double crewing for ambulances and improvements in Mental Health services.

Once again health and disability support services received the largest funding increase in the budget.

All of these increases are very much welcomed by us at Hauora Tairāwhiti because they all contribute to our ability to work in the Tairāwhiti community. Be it within our own organisation, through the providers we fund or working with those organisations funded centrally such as St John, the funding to be able to do the job is an essential component of having services on the ground day after day.

What does it mean for Hauora Tairāwhiti? Well the level of increase is higher than what we had originally thought for the 2017/18 year. With the fact we will again make a substantial deficit this year – estimated to be around $4.8m – on top of our record $6.7m deficit of last year then more funding to bridge the gap is extremely welcome. We are analysing the effects of the increase against the deficit, already developed budgets and the picture of expected cost increases for 17/18. Even preliminary analysis shows that we still have a gap which can only be closed by a significant savings programme. Fortunately, such a programme is well under development and many of you will have been contributing to some of the items appearing on the listing.

Once we have the figures analysed, have had more discussions with the Ministry of Health and sought the direction of the Board we will have a budgeted position to aim for Hauora Tairāwhiti in 2017/18. While I do not at this stage know what that will be I do know that it will continue to support the high demand for services we have in Tairāwhiti and go some way to accommodating the growth in the need for services for that demand. It will also cover off some of our expected inflationary growth but the full extent of that can only be met by planned for and delivered upon savings. We will continue to need to work as smart as we can to make ends meet.

I have been pleased with the response of staff across many areas to find both service improvements and savings in the 16/17 year. I am confident that with the funding increase we will receive, combined with our efforts to control and lower costs where we can, that people in Tairāwhiti will continue to receive good care and we will take that further in 2017/18, addressing the very real need for us to live within our means.

Thanks for your help.