A plan to fast-track patients with GP letters through
southern hospitals will exacerbate health inequalities,
Labour's Dunedin North MP Dr David Clark says.
The Southern Primary Health Organisation this week confirmed
it was seeking approval from senior hospital clinicians to
expand an existing scheme. If the plan is approved, the
public are to be told they will get faster treatment in the
emergency department and more access to specialist services
with a GP's letter.
''It used to be the case that you didn't have to get out your
cheque book to get into hospital. Sadly, due to National's
underfunding of health in the South, this reality is
''The proposal to make a visit to the hospital quicker if
your can afford a GP visit is contemptuous. Those already up
against the system will slide further down the list.
''Health inequalities are growing and further privatisation
grows the gap between those who can afford decent health for
themselves and their families, and those that can't,'' Dr
University of Otago health systems authority Prof Robin Gauld
said that while he saw merit in the scheme, the problem was
the relatively high cost of GP appointments in New Zealand.