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Fine tuning missing from free visit plan

Fine tuning missing from free visit plan

Plans to provide free GP visits to under 13-year-olds are beginning to unravel before the ink has even dried on the Budget document that announced the proposal, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.

“Doctors need to know how much they will receive to subsidise these free visits before they sign up to the voluntary scheme.

“Yet this basic fact seems to have escaped the Government. Under questioning in Parliament today Associate Health Minister Michael Woodhouse claimed the amount was in the Budget documents. It is not.

“He then obfuscated about what the dollar figure was likely to be before admitting he ‘wasn’t in a position to answer that’.

“That leaves GPs unable to commit to extending free visits for kids.

“After it was pointed out that the New Zealand Medical Association is warning the cost to adults visiting their GPs may have to rise unless the subsidy is sufficient, John Key’s response was a terse ‘they always say that.'

“That kind of cynicism will only add to doctors’ suspicions they are being used as election fodder.

“Affordable primary health care was a hallmark of Labour’s time in Government. Extending free visits to under-13s is a welcome move and goes some way to restoring previous cuts made by this National government.”

Ends

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