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College of GPs welcomes funding for child health care

College of GPs welcomes increased funding for child health care

The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) has welcomed the increase in funding for GP visits for children, which will assist GPs in delivering a better, more efficient primary health care service for children, young people and their families.

“The $90 million to make GP visits and prescriptions free for children aged under 13 from 1 July 2015 will go a long way towards improving access to primary care services for families with young children,” says RNZCGP President Tim Malloy.

“Targeting a greater subsidy to the primary health care needs of our children is an investment in the future wellbeing of our country, and may also help address the issue of health care equity in New Zealand.

“Evidence is emerging that suggests that zero fees to under 6s had an impact on hospitalisations as parents began taking their children to GPs when symptoms emerged rather than when they became critical. It is reasonable to expect a similar outcome in older children which will potentially put more pressure on general practices.

“Children form a large part of the population that GPs treat and raising awareness and access to immunisation, and early intervention care is crucial in the general health and wellbeing of a child.

“This, in addition to the previously announced $20 million investment to expand the number of free drop-in sore-throat clinics to target a further 90,000 children and young people who are at risk of getting rheumatic fever; as well as an extra $6.3 million for a bilateral cochlear implants programme for children, are good steps towards improving youth-specific primary care.

“There is no doubt that over the coming years, there will be increasing pressure on the primary health sector as more is expected of it, and the divisions between primary, secondary and social care become more blurred. We need to be ready for this with theright resources and funding initiatives,” Dr Malloy says.

ENDS

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