It is obvious from Tony Ryall’s hasty attack of Labour’s plans to extend free GP visits to older people that he hasn’t bothered to actually read the policy, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
"Mr Ryall’s response to Labour’s comprehensive, fully costed proposal to provide free healthcare to more Kiwis is nothing if not predictable.
“It is somewhat ironic that he and his colleagues can argue that providing free doctors’ visits to under 13-year-olds is a brilliant idea, while doing the same for over 65s, a group who also have some of the highest health needs and are generally on fixed incomes, is dumb.
“Tony Ryall is the man who, for the last six years, has fudged the very real pressures on the health system by bumping patients off waiting lists, denying surgery to patients because they don’t meet stringent pain thresholds and ignoring the rising number of people turning up to emergency departments because they can’t afford to see a GP.
“Labour’s policy has been costed to allow for demographic changes and inflation. On the other hand National has failed to invest enough in health to keep pace with those cost pressures in four out of six Budgets.
“Labour’s focus on primary care – where prevention and early intervention take precedence – makes sense. A sustainable health system that improves health outcomes for all New Zealanders is best for patients and best for taxpayers,” Annette King said.