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Long-term vision for healthcare in Northland and Auckland

District Health Board leaders have warmly welcomed new Government funding for Northland and Auckland as they set out a 20-year vision for healthcare in Northland and Auckland DHBs’ first joint Long Term Investment Plan (LTIP).

Today’s announcements include more than $200 million for a new surgical hospital for the North Shore Hospital campus, which will create significant additional elective capacity for the people of the Waitematā DHB district and the wider region.

Northland DHB was allocated $24 million for a Whangarei Hospital Theatre extension, a new Endoscopy Suite, and a new Cardiac Catheter Laboratory, to meet medium-term demand for acute medical and surgical services.

Earlier this year, $275 million of Crown funding was allocated to remediate and upgrade critical infrastructure at Auckland City Hospital, Starship Hospital and Greenlane Clinical Centre. Other business cases for the region, including plans to remediate and upgrade Middlemore Hospital, are at different stages in the capital investment process.  

The Northern Region LTIP was developed by the Northland, Waitematā, Auckland and Counties Manukau DHBs, with input from the Ministry of Health, Treasury, and other partner agencies. Released publicly today, it will provide important regional context for future investment decisions.

Dr Dale Bramley, Chief Executive of Waitematā DHB and regional Chief Executive lead for the LTIP project, says this is the first time such a comprehensive investment plan has been developed to meet the needs of the people of Northland and Auckland.

“This is an important and exciting plan that provides a new perspective on the challenges and opportunities that face the Northern Region healthcare system,” says Dr Bramley.

“The new LTIP-related investments announced by the Government today at North Shore Hospital, and earlier this year at Auckland City Hospital, will make a tangible, positive difference to the health outcomes of all the people living in our Region.

“The LTIP paints a picture of the substantial population growth and demographic shifts that will occur over the next two decades. It provides regional context for the investment of our existing budgets, and identifies the priorities that will require additional funding to meet the needs of our uniquely diverse population.

“Health equity is an important theme of the LTIP. We are ambitious to reduce the inequities that currently exist in our system, and to work across DHB boundaries, integrating and sharing resources, assets and services to ensure every dollar is spent in a way that optimises health gain for all our communities.”

The northern DHBs receive more than a third of the nation’s public healthcare funding (over $5 billion in annual revenue) and use it to provide and fund healthcare services for both regional and national populations. National services provided by the Northern Region DHBs include Starship Children’s Hospital and the National Transplant Unit.

The Northern Region itself has a population of 1.8 million people, predicted to grow to 2.3 million by 2036/2037. The population aged over 75 years within the region is anticipated to more than double during this time.

Counties Manukau Chief Medical Officer, Dr Gloria Johnson is the regional CMO lead for the LTIP.  Dr Johnson says while this first phase of the LTIP is focused on the condition and capacity requirements for the region’s hospital services, the second phase has a community centric approach.

“The longer lead times necessary to plan and fund increased hospital capacity mean we have prioritised hospital services the first iteration of the NRLTIP,” says Dr Johnson.

“Phase one of the NRLTIP details the remediation work required to ensure our current building stock is fit for purpose and to address the current maintenance backlog.

“The NRLTIP also identifies the Northern Region will need approximately 1,600 extra hospital beds in the next 20 years and outlines options for increasing hospital capacity, These include the development of current hospital sites and the potential for building additional hospitals in the region.

“However it is equally important to invest in changing our models of care, in early intervention and prevention work, and community and primary care. We are working with our primary care partners to further develop this aspect of our long term investment planning.

The Northern Region LTIP is the result of more than 18 months of work by the four northern DHBs in collaboration with other stakeholders, including primary care, the Ministry of Health, Treasury and the Northland and Auckland Councils.

“On behalf of the four DHBs, I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the first Northern Region LTIP or is contributing to the next phase of this work,” says Dr Johnson.

The full NRLTIP is available on the Northern Regional Alliance website at www.nra.health.nz/our-services/regional-planning-and-service-delivery().

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