Investing in the long-term health of our hospitals
No-one really wants to go to hospital, but when they do, they want to be treated in modern facilities that are up to the job.
Unfortunately, that hasn't always been the reality in New Zealand in recent years.
Underinvestment means that DHBs reported about 19 per cent of their assets were in poor or very poor condition. The Coalition Government inherited issues with earthquake-prone hospitals, asbestos, leaky roofs and buildings that have simply come to the end of their useful lives.
A lot of money is currently being spent on maintenance to keep these facilities safe and in service – but that is simply not sustainable. We need to invest in rebuilding and fixing our health facilities, and adding capacity to cope with a growing and ageing population.
That began at Budget 2018 with an injection of $750 million into capital projects in health – the biggest capital investment in health for a decade. That investment is funding everything from remedial works at Middlemore Hospital to deal with rot and mould in the walls, to new mental health facilities in Christchurch and extra surgery capacity on Auckland's North Shore.
Once completed, those projects and others will make a real difference to patients and the staff that work in our health section. But there is still much more work to be done.
That's why Budget 2019 includes two years of capital funding for health: $850 million for 2019/20 and a further $850 million for 2020/21. Over the two years, at least $200 million of the funds will be set aside for investment in capital projects in mental health and addiction.
This unprecedented investment of $1.7 billion over two years gives DHBs the certainty they need to plan for the future. It will mean DHBs can put forward business cases for important projects that have been put off for too long.