$3.76m health support for Kaikoura & Marlborough

  • Jonathan Coleman

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has today announced a $3.76 million support package for Kaikoura and Marlborough.

“The Government is committed to ensuring the people of Kaikoura and Marlborough can access the health services that they need following the recent earthquake,” says Dr Coleman.

“We know that after a serious earthquake, people can feel stressed and anxious for a long time after the event. The psychosocial recovery needs of the communities will change over the coming months and years.

“The support package is deliberately short term (one year) to allow immediate assistance to be in place while a longer term, wider psychosocial recovery response is considered.

“I’d like to acknowledge the health staff who continue to do a great job responding to local health needs at a difficult time. This package recognises the increased demand and seeks to offer greater support.”

For Kaikoura the package includes:

  • $2 million to pay the balance of the new health centre.
  • $810,000 for six additional health practitioners, including two health navigators for one year, an extra psychologist for one year, an extra counsellor for one year, an extra mental health clinician for six months, and an older persons’ health clinician for six months.
  • $35,000 for the provision of free GP visits for residents of Kaikoura and free or discounted GP visits for many people in Hurunui at the discretion of their GP. (December 2016 – May 2017).

“The new $13.4 million Kaikoura Health Te Ha o Te Ora, which I opened in April, has withstood the quake and subsequent aftershocks and more than proved its value as a community hub,” says Dr Coleman.

“In 2013 the Government approved the health centre, with the DHB contributing $10 million and the community agreeing to raise $3.4 million. To date the community has raised $1.4 million.

“We have decided to gift $2 million to the Kaikoura District Council to clear the balance. Given the challenges facing the people of Kaikoura, we did not want them to be worried about fundraising at this difficult time.”

For Marlborough the package includes:

  • $500,000 for three additional health practitioners, including a health navigator for one year, an extra mental health clinician for one year and a health promotion worker who will to help extend All Right? Campaign developed in response to the Canterbury earthquakes (as well as the associated costs of expanding the campaign).
  • $15,000 for the provision of free GP visits for residents of Ward, Seddon and rural eastern Marlborough for a period of six months (December 2016 – May 2017).
  • $400,000 for three additional health practitioners to assist Nelson Marlborough DHB in responding to increased demand as a result of re-routing State Highway 1. This includes an extra Resident Medical Officer and two additional registered nurses. 

The support package has been designed in consultation with Nelson Marlborough and Canterbury DHBs.

This funding is on top of the $20 million package of initiatives to increase mental health support for Cantabrians over the next three years announced earlier this year in March.