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Govt creates crisis in after-hours care

Govt creates crisis in after-hours care

The closure of Wellington’s only after-hours clinic is a sign of things to come around the country as flaws in Labour’s Primary Health Organisations become apparent, says National’s Health spokeswoman, Judith Collins.

She is responding to concerns today from the clinical leader in paediatrics at Wellington Hospital, that the closure of Wellington’s Accident and Medical Centre will unnecessarily expose children to trauma at the hospital’s A&E department.

“The Government’s funding formula is making it increasingly difficult for after-hours clinics to provide the services the public desperately needs.

“The Government is able to claw back subsidies from doctors in PHO areas if patients visit another doctor at an after-hours clinic.

“This not only creates a huge incentive for doctors to encourage their patients not to go to after-hours clinics, but it also makes it impossible for after-hours clinics, which are ineligible for PHO subsidies, to make ends meet.”

Ms Collins says illness is not a 9-to-5 problem; it is a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week problem, and this is particularly so for babies and young children. So, at the end of the day, it is patients who will pay the price for Labour’s flawed funding formula.

“Without adequate after-hours services, sick people will be forced to go to over-crowded hospital A&E departments – compounding an already serious problem.”

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