More support for health services’ COVID response
The Government is providing more support for testing labs, pharmacies, our midwives, hospices and call centres who all stepped up to provide essential health services during the COVID-19 outbreak Health Minister Dr David Clark says.
This includes $37 million for COVID-19 testing, $18 million for 365 critical community pharmacies, $5.48 million in funding for midwives, $10 million for DHB ventilator and respiratory equipment, $7.33 million to support hospices and $14.8 million to support the National Telehealth Service.
“Many health services were called on to do much more, or to continue providing care under difficult conditions during the COVID-19 outbreak,” says Clark.
“We know this came at a significant expense to these groups. The support we’re confirming today is to meet these costs and to strengthen their ability to continue providing services.
“This money is part of the initial $59.6 billion tranche of the COVID-19 Recovery and Response Fund (CRFF) announced as part of Budget 2020.
“Testing is the starting point for identifying and containing the spread of COVID-19. Our first COVID-19 test was completed on February 1. We can now process 12,500 a day and have completed over 300,000 individual tests. That’s an incredible achievement by those working in our medical labs.
“Our $37 million investment in testing today is to continue that work. It will make sure our testing capability remains up to the task of detecting and quickly containing the disease if it re-emerges.
“I’m also pleased to confirm CRRF support for midwives, hospices and pharmacies who maintained vital services for New Zealanders during the outbreak.
“The funding for community midwives enables a one-off lump sum of $2,500 each in recognition of the additional costs they incurred as they continued to provide essential care to pregnant, birthing and postnatal women during lockdown.
“Similarly, many pharmacists and our hospices continued their work to provide valuable services to New Zealanders in the challenging lockdown environment.
“Support also goes to the National Telehealth Service for its border activities and contact tracing.
“The service played a vital role in containing and managing the outbreak and will continue to be central to the COVID-19 health response.
“Today’s funding package includes money for DHBs’ purchases of new ventilators and other respiratory equipment. Our success in countering COVID-19 over the last three months has given our health services the chance to further strengthen their readiness for any future outbreak and the Government is backing them to do that.
“All of these services and their staff stepped up when we needed them to, and I believe all New Zealanders will want me to again acknowledge their vital work to protect and care for us,” says Clark.