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After-hours care costs hits poor families hard

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.


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