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NZMA Calls on Politicians to Get Real

Thursday 28 July 2005

NZMA Calls on Politicians to Get Real over ‘free care’ for under-sixes

Politicians must “get real” when they are talking about “free care for under sixes” says NZMA GPC Chairman Dr Peter Foley.

“Yesterday in parliament a question about the funding of the under-sixes led to much ill-informed discussion about doctors’ fees and how they relate to the subsidies, “ says Dr Foley.

“The facts are that for most general practitioners, the ‘under sixes’ subsidy has never met the full cost of providing care to these children. GPs have for years subsidised free provision of this care. In recent years, despite modest increases in the subsidy, many doctors have felt a need to charge a co-payment. Others do not and continue to subsidise the cost of providing this care.”

“General practitioners strive hard to provide quality care at an affordable price, however, it is important that they protect the viability of their services.”

“It is politicians who promote this as free care for children under six, not doctors, who know that unless subsidies are at realistic levels, somebody has to pay, and in some cases it will be the patient’s parents or caregivers.”

ENDS

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