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Call For Free Doctors Visits For Under Sixes

19 July 2004

Call For Free Doctors Visits For Under Sixes

New Zealand First has called for the Government to reinstate free doctor’s visits for children under six following new Ministry of Health statistics showing that almost one in six Pacific Island and one in eight Maori children fail a school-entry hearing test.

Health spokesperson Barbara Stewart said Counties Manukau and Northland had the highest failure rates.

“With the Ministry able to pinpoint the worst areas and contributing socio-economic factors such as overcrowding, poor nutrition and limited access to healthcare which lead to conditions such as glue ear, it is high time to do something about it,” said Mrs Stewart.

“A Health Ministry official has acknowledged that the level of ethnic disparity was of concern and that, although doctor’s visits for children were free, parents might not take children to the doctor because they had unpaid bills.

“We all know that children’s visits to the doctor are not actually free in many areas and it is significant that none of the information available about the new PHO health system mentions immediate cheaper health care for under sixes.

“Obviously it is time to reinstate the New Zealand First policy of free health care that really is free for under sixes and do it properly this time,” said Mrs Stewart.

ENDS

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