Ministerial double speak on GP Fees


The Associate Health Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga was simply making it up when he claimed today that General Practitioners had been given money in the Budget to lower fees, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. 

“In a reply to a question in Parliament he claimed that additional funding had been given to primary health but what he neglected to say was that this money had nothing to do with making doctors’ visits cheaper.

“This money was used to offset some of the cost of inflation for GPs’ practices and not a cent went to making sure visits to the doctor cost less. 

“At the moment there are 434,040 high needs patients who are unable to access the cheaper GP visits available under the Very Low Cost Access scheme. 

“Some people are paying up to $70 for a GP visit while people enrolled in VLCA practices are paying $18. 

“The Government’s policy around GP fees is a dog’s breakfast and National is now resorting to fudging the figures to hide their pathetic lack of action. Health is already suffering a $1.7 billion cut because of the aging population and inflationary pressures. 

“New Zealand doctors are clearly upset at this iniquity over patients’ fees. They want action and the Government must start listening,” says Annette King.