Manukau County DHB Says $ 300 Million Funding Lack Affects Diabetes Treatment

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Undercoverage in the Manukau Counties Population Census continues to impact health financing in South Auckland.

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Undercoverage in the Manukau Counties Population Census continues to impact health financing in South Auckland.

The Manukau Counties DHB estimates that the Department of Health has underfunded it by $ 300 million over the past decade, which has affected its ability to treat chronic conditions such as diabetes.

The figures were included in a report to DHB by the Manukau Counties Director of Population Health, Dr Gary Jackson.

A spokesperson for Manukau DHB counties said the lack of funding had been a persistent problem for several years and was the result of the area’s population undercoverage in the census.

Undercoverage affects how much it receives from the Department of Health as part of its population-based funding formula and, therefore, how much it has to spend on treating diabetes and other illnesses. chronic.

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“Stats NZ has had some difficulty providing accurate population counts over the past 10 years, both at the time of the census and through tracking internal migration,” the spokesperson said.

“These inaccuracies have unfortunately had a more negative impact on areas with more precarious populations (particularly Maori and Pasifika) who are less likely to engage, and therefore less likely to be counted.”

And while a range of factors are included in the ministry’s funding formula, diabetes is not.

According to the Department of Health, 47,988 people were diagnosed with the disease in Manukau counties in 2020, the highest number of any district health board in New Zealand.

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DHB is currently seeking additional funding of $ 138 million from the Department of Health to improve diabetes treatment and primary health care services and fight obesity.

“This has been discussed at the board level and sent to the Ministry of Health, and focuses specifically on finding funding to address the inequalities that exist,” the spokesperson said.

Health commentator and former executive director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, Ian Powell, said while the Department of Health’s population-based funding model is generally quite effective, it is far from perfect. .

“It all depends on the reliability of your data, and because the census is only taken every five years, the reliability of the data decreases over time,” he said.

Powell said the ministry also takes into account additional factors – including the socioeconomic status, age, gender and ethnicity of an area’s population – but there is currently no allowance for chronic diseases like diabetes.

He said as the number of diabetic patients is increasing year by year in areas such as Manukau counties, this will only add to the pressure on treatment costs.

According to the Department of Health, there were 47,988 people with diabetes in Manukau counties in 2020, the highest number of any district health board in New Zealand.

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According to the Department of Health, there were 47,988 people with diabetes in Manukau counties in 2020, the highest number of any district health board in New Zealand.

Diabetes Foundation Aotearoa President Dr John Baker said it was frustrating to hear about the DHB’s $ 300 million funding gap.

“We say this has been a problem for a long time,” he said. “This is a major problem that successive governments have failed to address.

Baker said long-term conditions like diabetes should receive dedicated funding from the Department of Health and the focus should be on preventative medicine to help reduce the growing number of people with the disease.

Jess Smaling, head of the Department of Health’s associated group for DHB planning, funding and accountability, said the population-based funding model helps provide much of the district health board’s funding.

She said Statistics New Zealand provides updated population projections each year and this enables boards of health to meet the needs of their population.

“But that doesn’t determine the overall level of funding DHBs receive. [which is determined by the Budget process] nor how the DHBs spend it.

And Smaling said treatment for long-term conditions like diabetes must be managed within allocated funding.

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