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Source: Association of Salaried Medical Specialists

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists says a one-off funding boost for Family Planning is a step in the right direction but there needs to be commitment to proper long-term funding and pay parity for senior doctors across the health sector.

The Government has announced $427,000 in support to Family Planning to help reduce waiting times for patients. Family Planning has not had a funding increase in over ten years.  Last week it apologised to patients saying it was struggling to meet demand, especially due to the added pressures of the Covid backlog.

ASMS Executive Director Sarah Dalton says the extra money is welcome but it is just a Covid-driven sticking plaster.

“Family Planning has been battling growing demand and costs for years and its contracts with the Ministry of Health have not reflected that.”

“While it’s positive to see the Government stumping up with a quick-fix funding package to get through what has become a service crisis, those contracts need to contain some long-term vision and sustainable funding.  Family Planning and its patients should not be left wondering when the next crisis point will come”.

Specialists at Family Planning also earn less than their counterparts at DHBs.

“That is obviously not a fair situation for our members and another reason why Family Planning needs to be funded at levels which reflect the demand for and value of the services it provides,” Sarah Dalton says.