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It's Question Time, Minister

Media Release
1 October 2003

It's Question Time, Minister

New Zealand First has asked the Health Minister to explain the reasons behind her claim today that two million New Zealanders now have access to low-cost primary care.

“In claiming such a benefit for the ‘Primary Health Organisations’ the Minister needs to front up with some evidence,” said New Zealand First Family Affairs spokesperson Barbara Stewart.

“What does the Minister consider to be low cost? Is she for real?

“Given that this Minister has no idea how much General Practitioners have been charging for treating children under six how can we have confidence in new claims that a million New Zealanders have access to low cost care? During her time as Minister charges for this so-called free service have risen to $30 and $40 a visit in some areas. What guarantees has she that PHOs charges will reflect the new targeted subsidies? How can she guarantee that her funding scheme will translate into cheaper visits?

“What estimates does the Minister have of increased Practice costs that will inevitably find their way onto patients’ bills? How is this scheme going to ensure that our rural communities will have doctors?

“Ms King’s announcement is blatant propaganda that ignores the real costs of health care faced by families and fails to deal with increasing barriers to quality healthcare within many of our communities.” said Mrs. Stewart.

ENDS

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