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GPs still reject Government control

GP Leaders’ Forum
Media Release
8 June 2006

GPs still reject Government control

The GP Leaders’ Forum has today sent a letter to all the nation’s GPs re-stating the recommendation last month that GPs do not yet agree to any contracts offered by DHBs or PHOs on the 45-64 patient subsidy.

The letter challenges an “announcement”last week from the DHBs and PHONZ that there had been a breakthrough in negotiations over roll-out of the patient subsidy.

GPLF chairman, Dr Peter Foley, said government agencies were still demanding control over GP fees, but to GPs this was a “non-negotiable” issue.

“There has been no break-through. The Government has not changed its stance around control of fees and we continue to support the right of GP business owners to manage their own business..

“For the health of our patients and our practices we cannot agree to any contract that allows the Government to control future fee increases,” Dr Foley said.

The letter confirmed that GPs will reduce fees for 45-64 year olds by the full amount of the subsidy.

“The issue is not about the subsidy; we have agreed to pass it on, and the Government already has in place a mechanism to review any GP’s fees they think do not adequately reflect the subsidy.

“This is about the Government withholding money they have promised to New Zealanders on the grounds that GP business owners will not agree to have their businesses controlled by bureaucrats.

“Any clauses in the contracts that will result in pre-approval of our fees, no matter what mechanism they use, are completely unacceptable.

“It is a matter of principle that we will not hand over our practices to the control of the Government.

“But it is also fundamental that as private business we must have control of our fees to ensure we can continue to deliver services to communities.

“If bureaucrats set our fees, the result will be practices throughout New Zealand losing money, becoming insolvent and ceasing business. That will make the sector a less attractive career option and will result in a loss of workforce.

Is this what the Government really wants?” Dr Foley asked.

ENDS

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