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Minister stifles free speech on health funding

Dr Lynda Scott National Health Spokesperson

25 September 2002

Minister stifles free speech on health funding

National's Health spokesperson, Dr Lynda Scott, says the Health Minister is keeping the funding formula for Primary Health Organisations tightly under wraps.

"Today, in the Health Select Committee, Annette King failed to answer why she has kept the funding formula secret. Those health professionals consulted on how New Zealanders will pay for GP services have been sworn to secrecy with confidentiality agreements," says Dr Scott.

"The reality is that what people will pay for GP services will depend on 'location, location, location' under the Government's new primary healthcare strategy.

"GPs who do not enter into a PHO arrangement fear they will miss out on new funding which means their patients will also miss out and pay more. This is simply not fair.

"New Zealanders don't realise how widely this new primary healthcare issue affects them, because of secrecy around it.

"I support the Primary Healthcare Strategy but I have grave concerns about the unfair way it is being implemented. It gives people access to treatment according to which GP practice they are enrolled in, rather than their need or ability to pay.

"Payment for care should always be based on need rather than the practice the family goes to. The current GP system works well. This big change will see the visit to the local family doctor dependent on location, location, location," says Dr Scott.


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