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Govt limiting patient choice to doctors

Dr Lynda Scott National Health Spokesperson

7 October 2003

Govt limiting patient choice to doctors

The Government can't complain about what it calls 'doctor shopping' when it is restricting patients to seeing only one GP practice under its new Primary Health Organisations (PHO) system, says National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

"The system is unfair in how it allocates cheap doctors' visits so people will shop around, but this Government is taking away any patient choice.

"The PHO system is flawed from the start. When you bring in a system that funds subsidised doctor's visits on race and location, people are going to look around for the best deal.

"Now the Government's saying if you get sick when on holiday or working away from home you must go back to the doctor you've enrolled with, even if that's not practical.

"Under National's primary care funding those with community services cards got cheaper doctors' visits with any doctor of their choice. We didn't try to tell people who to see - Labour is.

"Labour has never researched how this flawed PHO system would operate, and never educated the public about. Now it's seeing the problems so finally a year after the first PHO we have an education campaign.

"It is the race and location-based system that is wrong, and unfortunately no amount of educating will change patients' response to it," Dr Scott says.


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