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Age Concern wants PHO assurances

Age Concern New Zealand Media Statement 20 November 2006 12 noon - Immediate Release

Age Concern wants PHO assurances

"Doctors and DHBs need to get together to ensure older people get the healthcare they need," Age Concern New Zealand Chief Executive Ann Martin says.

"We need assurances that all older people can access primary health care from the current system."

Age Concern is responding to reports that some GPs are closing their books to older people, claiming that primary health care organisation (PHO) funding formulas don't fully cover the costs of older patients. Doctors in South Canterbury have acknowledged there is a problem in their area.

"I find it hard to believe that many GPs would close off their books to older people because they think they're too sick, too slow, or too costly to treat.

"Such a practice would be ageist, discriminatory and totally unacceptable.

"Older people who are ill, need access to health care from a range of health professionals including GPs."

Age Concern is seeking assurances that older people's rights and welfare will be protected. It has called on the Ministry of Health and district health boards, especially the South Canterbury DHB, to confirm that all older people have access to primary health care.

"The older-old, people aged 80 and more, are the fastest growing group in society. Their health needs need to be planned for and costed accurately.

"Primary health care is an investment not a cost. If older people receive medical treatment they need, their quality of life is maintained, and they are able to continue contributing to their communities," Ann Martin said.


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