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NZMA pleased at patient subsidy uptake

NEW ZEALAND MEDICAL ASSOCIATION MEDIA RELEASE:


FROM: Dr Peter Foley, Chairman NZMA GP Council

DATE: Wednesday, 12 July 2006

SUBJECT: NZMA pleased at patient subsidy uptake

The New Zealand Medical Association is pleased that patients aged 45-64 are now receiving government subsidies for primary health care. It was announced today that the subsidies became available through nearly 100 per cent of general practices from 1 July.

“This successful outcome for patients is largely due to the involvement of General Practice in the contracting process between District Health Boards and Primary Health Organisations,” said Dr Peter Foley, who chairs the NZMA’s General Practitioner Council.

“The contracting process had become bogged down with conditions that were unacceptable to General Practice, and it was looking likely that patients might miss out. But it was only when the General Practice Leaders’ Forum became directly involved, and worked incredibly hard to ensure that the unacceptable conditions were removed, that positive progress was made.

“Commonsense prevailed, and now patients are benefiting by receiving the subsidy, and general practices can ensure their viability by being able to set their own fees," Dr Foley said.

“General Practice has a long history of passing on government subsidies to patients, as Ministry of Health surveys show, and we did not doubt this would happen for this age group as well. We hope the lessons learnt this year will avoid similar problems occurring next year when subsidies for the next age group are rolled-out."

GP Leaders’ Forum is comprised of the NZMA’s GP Council, the Royal New Zealand College of GPs, the Independent Practitioners Association Council of NZ, and the Rural General Practice Network.

ENDS

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