25 May 2015

Health fund loses $18 million

1:57 pm on 25 May 2015

A fund dedicated to phone and online advice lines and other services has been slashed by almost $18 million in the Budget.

A surgeon in scrubs and white gloves with a tray of instruments.

Money for mobile surgical units has been moved to another pot within the health budget. Photo: 123RF

Budget documents show annual spending on what personal health services has dropped from $95.5 million to just below $78 million.

The money goes on things such as mobile surgical units, oral health work, advice lines and sexual health services.

The ministry says the money is still there, it's just being transferred to different areas of the health budget.

But the Government said that was justified because the money would pay for elective or non-urgent surgery instead.

The Nurses Organisation said it was like robbing Peter to pay Paul - cutting some important health services to pay for initiatives in other areas.

However, the union also welcomed new money available for palliative care and bowel screening.

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