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Free doctors’ visits, prescriptions for under 13s

Free doctors’ visits, prescriptions for under 13s

Free doctors’ visits and prescriptions for children aged under six will be extended to all children aged under 13 from July next year, Health Minister Tony Ryall says.

“Budget 2014 is investing $90 million over three years from 1 July 2015 so primary school-aged children can go to a doctor for free, any time of the day or night, and get their prescriptions free as well,” he says.

“National brought in the policy of free GP visits and prescriptions for children under six, including free after-hours visits. Thanks to our prudent management of the health budget, we are extending this policy to all children under 13.

“This is what careful financial management can deliver to Kiwi families.

“More than 400,000 primary school-aged children and their families are expected to benefit from this investment. Parents shouldn’t be put off getting medical assistance for their young children because of the cost, and we are making sure of that.

“This is an important preventative health measure, as parents will be more likely to take their child to the doctor for treatment before their condition becomes severe. It will also help reduce the number of children presenting at our busy hospital emergency departments with an illness that a GP could have treated.

“The Government will offer this scheme to general practices from 1 July 2015. Of the 1,029 general practices in the country, 1,004 practices have opted into the free under-sixes scheme and 98 per cent of children under six can go to the doctor for free.

“In addition to the $90 million for free prescriptions and doctors’ visits for children under 13, we are also investing an extra $23.7 million over four years to support general practices.

“This includes $8.9 million of extra funding for rural general practices and a further $13.3 million to provide a third of New Zealanders with low-cost doctors’ visits,” Mr Ryall says.

Ends

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