Society Applauds Extra Health Spending

The extra health spend is well targeted to benefit the most needy in our community and pharmacists are well positioned to provide new services.

Budget 2017 will invest an extra $3.9million over four years into Vote Health taking the total spend on health to $16.77 billion in 2017 / 18.

Pharmacists are well placed to support patients with mental health issues as the most accessible health professionals.Many patients require medication and these often have significant side effects which can cause adherence problems.

The Government’s decision to invest $100 million for DHBs to support local mental health and addiction services is likely to improve the services available and it is encouraging that individual DHBs are able to invest more if they feel it is required.

“This is likely to make the role that pharmacists play every day in supporting mental health patients even more important”, says Richard Townley, Chief Executive of the Pharmaceutical Society.

“The Society is currently developing a point of care monitoring service for Clozapine which is just one example of the way in which pharmacists can contribute directly in the mental health area.Eventually we hope that DHBs may pick up this service and use the extra funding to make it available nationwide.”Richard says.

The Society also welcomes the extra $60 million for PHARMAC to provide more access to new medicines.

“For New Zealanders to receive the best possible care they need access to new innovative medicines and we applaud the fact that this additional funding will make this possible.

Pharmacists’ role as the medicines specialist, counselling patients about their medicines, discussing interactions and side effects is vital especially with new medicines that patients are receiving for the first time.” says Richard.