Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says making the cost of visiting the doctor much cheaper for almost 600,000 Kiwis will mean more people will be able to get the care they need, when they need it.
From tomorrow up to 540,000 Community Services Card holders will see the cost of visiting the doctor fall by an average of $20-30. That includes about 80,000 people who will be newly eligible for a Community Service Card because they receive an Accommodation Supplement or an income-related rent subsidy. The Ministry of Social Development started sending these cards to people this month.
On top of that 56,000 13 year olds will become eligible for free primary care. Free and cheaper doctors visits were announced in Budget 2018,
“In a country like New Zealand cost should not put people off going to see the doctor when they’re sick. I’m proud that, from tomorrow, the Government has made cost much less of a barrier to hundreds of thousands of Kiwis,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“The Coalition Government has set out improve the wellbeing of all New Zealanders and we’re committed to making our country the best place in the world to be a child. Extending free doctors’ visits to every child under 14, is a big step towards that goal,” Jacinda Ardern said.
Health Minister David Clark today joined the Prime Minister at the Island Bay Medical Centre in Wellington to mark tomorrow’s milestone. The centre has 1200 CSC holders on its books who will now pay less than $20 per visit.
“Last year more than half a million people didn’t go to their GP because of the cost – that’s a shocking number. We’re tackling that directly by reducing fees for those most in financial need,” David Clark said.
“Not only will cheaper doctors visits mean more people will be able to afford to get the care they need, that will mean many health issues can be identified and treated early before they become major problems requiring hospital treatment.
“So far more than 80 percent of general practices have signed up to deliver cheaper visits for their patients. I want to thank the primary health sector for their hard work preparing for the rollout of this policy, which will make it easier to access their valuable services over time,” David Clark said.