Cheaper GP visits for half a million Kiwis

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister David Clark. Photo: NZ Herald
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister David Clark. Photo: NZ Herald
A suite of new Government health initiatives, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says will make going to the doctor cheaper for more than half a million Kiwis, comes into effect tomorrow.

From Saturday, December 1, up to 540,000 Community Service Card holders will receive cheaper doctor's visits.

In this year's budget, the Government announced it would spend $363 million on making doctor's visits $20-$30 cheaper for cardholders, as well as extending the eligibility for the Community Services Card to people receiving the accommodation supplement or income-related rent subsidy.

Ardern said roughly 80,000 people would now be eligible for the card.

"In a country like New Zealand, cost should not put people off going to see the doctor when they're sick," she said.

When announcing the funding package in May, Health Minister David Clark said in 2017, more than half a million people didn't go to their local GP because of the cost.

"In a country like ours, that's a disgrace," he said.

The policy also extends free GP visits to under-14-year-olds.

Ardern said this was a "big step towards" making New Zealand the best country in the world to be a child.

NZ First's Health spokeswoman Jenny Marcroft said she was excited to see this policy become a reality.

"The implementation of the under-14s policy was a key commitment in the Labour/NZ First Coalition agreement."

The policy would see an additional 56,000 young people eligible for free doctor's visits.

Clark said so far more than 80 percent of GPs had signed up to deliver cheaper visits for their patients.

"Not only will cheaper doctors' visits mean more people will be able to afford to get the care they need, that will mean many health issues can be identified and treated early before they become major problems requiring hospital treatment."


Not something to cavil at.

Grumpy objection from National is like Grandma Walton (Ellen Corby) hating Roosevelt's New Deal.