Auckland kids missing out on free GPs

Thousands of Auckland children are missing out on free doctors’ visits despite claims from the Government that take-up had exceeded expectations, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.

“Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has been quick to talk up the ‘success’ of the Government’s scheme to subsidise doctors’ visits to children under 13.

“However 22 practices in Auckland DHB have chosen not to opt into the scheme.

“That means up to 5000 six to 12 year olds will not be able to see their GP for free.

“If doctors feel they are unable to provide this service, there is clearly an issue with the amount of funding available.

“Dr Coleman has said if practices didn’t opt in there were ‘easily accessible alternatives’. That suggests he is comfortable having parents driving considerable distances with a sick child to find a doctor.

“This is another example of this Government underfunding a policy and expecting an already stretched frontline to pick up the pieces,” Annette King says.