Tauranga-based Labour list MP Jan Tinetti is pleased that from December 1, it will be cheaper for nearly 600,000 New Zealanders to visit the doctor.
Doctors’ visits will be around $20 to $30 cheaper for all Community Services Card holders and there will be expanded access to the card as well.
That means around 540,000 people can get access to cheaper doctor’s visits. Free doctors’ visits will be extended to all children under the age of 14, meaning a further 56,000 young New Zealanders will be eligible for free GP visits and prescriptions.
“That’s great news for families here in Tauranga,” says Jan.
“It means that cost won’t be a barrier to people getting prompt medical treatment.
“In my former job as a school principal I saw many instances where children didn’t visit the doctor because their families couldn’t afford it and sometimes the consequences were very serious. Before the last election more than half a million New Zealanders a year avoided going to the GP because of cost.”
Jan says in a country like New Zealand that just wasn’t good enough.
She says making it easier for people to visit their GP will also help ease the strain on our hospital emergency departments, leaving them to focus on critical care and saving taxpayers money in the long run.
Changes haven’t stopped there either.
“Over the past year we have been modernising our hospital buildings to make sure they’re safe and fit for purpose, we’ve funded additional surgical beds and new operating theatres, and we’ve launched new mental health and addiction facilities.
“We’re also extending our school-based health service so an extra 24,000 high school students can reach out to a nurse at their school.
“We are developing a pilot programme that will provide free counselling for young people aged 18 to 25, and we’re looking at options for a free annual health check for all SuperGold Card holders.”