John Boynton, Te Manu Korihi Reporter
A west Auckland Māori urban authority says the government needs to take control of the soaring cost of after-hours medical care.
Te Whānau o Waipareira launched its winter campaign today, calling on the government to make after-hours care more affordable.
The organisation's chief executive John Tamihere said the cost of a visit to the local after-hours medical centre in Henderson between 6pm and 8am on weekdays was $92.
That jumped to $107 on weekends and public holidays.
Mr Tamihere said even with a community services card the $42 cost was still a big barrier.
Many families in West Auckland were working class and low income, Mr Tamihere said, and put off visits to after-hour GPs because they simply couldn't afford it.
"There is a rort going on here and it needs to be sorted out in after hours care - until it is all poor people who can't afford those significant after-hour costs must go to hospital emergencies," Mr Tamihere said.
The current system of dealing with after-hours medical care was flawed, he said.
"Why do we have to have our people go in ambulances at a big cost and plug up hospital beds - because they were not served in a primary care situation first?"
This is the fifth year Te Whānau o Waipareira has run its winter campaign to address the high cost of after-hour medical care.