18 May 2021

Pharmac, dental funding crucial in Budget - National Party

12:57 pm on 18 May 2021

Thursday's Budget is being promoted as a Covid-19 Recovery Budget.

Inside the lock-up for the first time will be National Party deputy leader Dr Shane Reti.

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National Party deputy leader and health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

He told First Up he would like to see Pharmac's funding increased.

"Everything in health needs attention but... I'd point to Pharmac.

"We do need to be increasing Pharmac funding. In our campaign [in] 2020, we put $235 million into Pharmac, I think we need to be doing more with Pharmac, give them more options, better access."

Reti said dental was "another high priority".

"We were proposing supervised toothbrushing and regular fluoride varnish; it could go from that to mobile dental clinics."

An increase to the emergency grant has already been announced but he said that was at the "bottom of the cliff".

"Really pleased the government has announced HPV screenings, we did too in 2020. It just makes sense.

"I worry for my primary care colleagues ... they need a hand. It's something I would like to see in the Budget."

Vaccine rollout

Reti said there should be one vaccine rollout policy for the country.

Those over the age of 50 can get the vaccine in Northland, but it is over the age of 65 elsewhere.

He hoped primary care and pharmacies would be involved in delivering vaccines too.

"At the back end we need to tidy up the IT," he said after receiving complaints that people could not book a slot to get vaccinated.

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