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Minister, how out of touch are you?

What was going through Jonathan Coleman’s head in the Health Select Committee this morning when he claimed he was unaware that an estimated 533,000 people have missed out on a GP’s visit in the last 12 months due to cost, asks Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.

“The Minister should have known these figures were from the Ministry of Health’s own survey which was widely reported.

“For the past nine years the decision by Kiwis not to go to their doctor is a direct result of spiralling GPs fees.

“Instead of claiming that he ‘knows nothing’ he should be looking at why Kiwis are choosing not to go to their GPs. The fact that a number of our hospitals are running at over capacity for more days each year under his Government is almost certainly a result that a visit to the GP is becoming out of reach for some New Zealanders.

“The maximum fee for a doctor’s visit has increased to $69 a visit for adults. The average for non low cost practices is up to $40.71 from $29.11 in 2008.

“The Minister refuses to address the $2.3 billion shortfall that Infometrics has identified in Crown Health expenditure. For 8 years the Government has ignored growing demographic and inflationary pressures eating away at our health dollar.

“This $2.3 billion is the Government’s elephant in the room. However the Minister refuses to treat this figure seriously. More Kiwis will be priced out of a visit to their GP in the months ahead.

“Labour will make a fresh approach so that all Kiwis can get quality health care when they need it,” says David Clark