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Labour's Legacy - Botched After-hours Care

Posted on 25 Sep 2008

The Independent Practitioner Association Council (IPAC) is correct when it says that Government primary health care funding does not acknowledge or include after-hours services - in fact, primary health care funding was ignored when the funding formula was being developed, ACT Deputy Leader and Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"After-hours care was never properly thought out when Labour introduced Primary Health Organisations, and GPs providing these services have been left high and dry," Mrs Roy said.

"Having moved to subsidise day-time doctor visits, Labour gloats about providing New Zealanders with better access to healthcare - but, at the same time, after-hours care has been ignored.

"As such, once thriving and efficient after-hours clinics have been forced to charge high fees to keep their doors open.  Many others have closed or been forced to reduce their hours.  As a result, A&E departments constantly experience overcrowding as people attend their free service to avoid paying after-hours clinic fees.

"Government bureaucrats do not seem to realise that people get sick outside the hours of 8am-5pm and, as a result, there are huge discrepancies and inequalities in the PHO funding formula.

"IPAC is right to call for urgent action on funding for after-hours care.  What is urgently needed is a fresh look at the current funding formula to ensure that we get the best value for the taxpayers' money that is being poured into health," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

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