17 Dec 2014

Health funding shortfall may not be disaster

8:14 am on 17 December 2014

The Maori Medical Practitioners Assocation's says potential public health sector funding cuts could be a disaster or an opportunity for Maori services.

In leaked Cabinet committee papers, the Treasury has warned the Government's operating budget is oversubscribed and ministers need to make some tough funding decisions in health.

The documents show that DHBs need an extra $440 million in 2015.

The Treasury recommends giving them just $250 million, while the Ministry of Health proposes $320 million.

Te Ohu Rata o Aotearoa chair David Jansen said the cuts could go two ways for Maori providers.

At one level, Maori providers will be deeply anxious because historically DHBs have cut funding to Maori organisations when they are faced with these situations.

However, Mr Jansen said, there was also a growing body of evidence around Maori providers being part of the solution if DHBs are prepared to consider innovative ways of doing things.