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More newborns enrolled earlier with GP

Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health


6 September 2013 Media Statement
More newborns enrolled earlier with GP

More newborns are being enrolled with general practices (GPs) as part of the government’s plans to improve immunisation rates.

Health Minister Tony Ryall announced the latest enrolment results while visiting the Upper Hutt Health Centre in the Hutt Valley today.

“Last year we introduced an at-birth enrolment policy, where maternity unit staff notify the family doctor of a child’s birth before mother and baby leave the unit. And district health boards are now rolling out the policy,” says Mr Ryall.

“Latest data shows 66 per cent of newborns are now enrolled with a GP before they are three months old – this is a nine per cent increase in the past three months.

“At-birth enrolment makes it easier for parents to enrol their baby with their family doctor and gives newborns the best start to life.

“Previously, parents would normally enrol their baby when they first visit the GP after the birth – in many cases this was months later.

“I’m advised that in the past few newborns were enrolled at six weeks of age – this meant many started their immunisations late and were potentially exposed to preventable diseases like whooping cough and polio.

“One of the biggest benefits of having a newborn enrolled with a GP straight away is the practices can remind parents when their baby is due for their first immunisation at six weeks of age,” says Mr Ryall.

ENDS

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