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Show me the funding, Mr Ryall

Grant ROBERTSON
Health Spokesperson
7 November 2011

Show me the funding, Mr Ryall

Kiwis want to know exactly what services Health Minister Tony Ryall will cut to pay for his unfunded promise to make after-hours doctors’ visits free for under six year olds, Labour’s Health spokesperson Grant Robertson says.

"Labour has committed to 24/7 free doctors’ visits for under sixes. This is an important step in ensuring that children get the care they need when they need it.

"I have heard a number of worrying stories recently from parents and doctors about children not getting treatment because families have felt they could not afford it.

“One Kapiti mother told me the after-hours fee she was charged was 20 per cent of her family's weekly grocery bill. That was not something she could afford."

"Labour believes the health of our children is a priority, and will allocate an additional $10million annually to ensure that these free visits actually happen.
"National might be promising free visits, but its recent announcement had no new funding attached to it.

“This means if it really is going to happen, other services will have be cut. The Health budget under National has been underfunded to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollar, resulting in reductions to numerous services.

“It's time for Mr Ryall to fully explain what he is planning to do to pay for these ‘free’ after-hours visits,” Grant Robertson said.

Other announcements made today as part of Labour's children's policy include a commitment to ensure all children are enrolled with a well-child provider before birth, and additional support to ensure children start school free from, or being treated for, conditions that will affect their learning.

"These are essential investments in our future. If we can ensure that we pick up any health issues early on, then we will give our children the best shot at successful and healthy lives.

“What could be more important than that for the future wellbeing of New Zealand?" Grant Robertson said.

ENDS

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