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A deadline every 9 minutes for doctors

Bill English National Party Leader

29 December 2002

A deadline every 9 minutes for doctors

National says it has uncovered the Government plan for families who need to visit their GP - nine-minute doctors' visits.

"A business plan we've acquired for a South Auckland medical practice shows GPs there are expected to see a patient every nine minutes," says National Leader Bill English.

"That's nine minutes for each person in the waiting room and there are over 20 million GP visits each year.

"And according to the business plan under the heading 'financial risk', by the time a patient spends 10-and-a-half minutes with their doctor, they're considered 'high risk'.

"This medical practice will be a Primary Health Organisation (PHO), Labour's new plan for all GPs," Mr English says.

"So now we know exactly what Annette King's got in mind for the family doctor, a conveyor belt which treats people who visit the doctor like commodities on a production line.

"As a former Health Minister, I'm deeply concerned about how this will affect every New Zealander," Mr English says.

"And how much pressure will doctors be under to meet their quota?

"This GP practice also assumes its 15,000 patients will only see the doctor an average of three times a year, in an area that's plagued with health needs," he notes.

"The family doctor has been a New Zealand institution and the Government's new PHO programme cuts right across the traditional relationship between patients and their GPs.

"The nine-minute GP visit is clearly unrealistic and uncaring," Mr English concludes.


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