Earlier this week the New Zealand AIDS Foundation announced that, due to cuts in their funding, they are having to shed workers despite the surging rate of HIV diagnoses. These cuts are the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system.
The Foundation has already had to cut back the number of free counselling hours it provides to people who are affected by HIV. These services are vital in helping people and their families respond to an HIV diagnosis, and forcing the NZAF to start cutting these services demonstrates how little the National Government cares about our communities.
But it’s not just the NZAF, there are stories like this all across the public healthcare system. There are currently 141 unfilled positions in the mental health and addiction workforce, thirteen out of twenty district health boards are operating in deficit, and just last year 57,000 people were turned away from the operating table following referral from their GP.
The NZAF has not had any significant increase to its core funding since 2009, which means they have had to absorb the cost of inflation and population increase. The Foundation says that, conservatively, the result is a funding cut of 7% over the past 8 years.
A Labour-led Government will roll back National’s $1.7 billion worth of cuts to the health system and will back the New Zealand AIDS Foundation in its vision to end HIV in New Zealand by 2025 by broadening access to HIV medicines.