Half-a-million New Zealanders didn't make GP appointment last year due to rising cost




The rising cost of visiting a doctor stopped half-a-million New Zealanders from making an appointment in the last year.

Some doctors are demanding an overhaul of the way a government subsidy is given out.
Source: 1 NEWS

Now, some doctors are demanding an overhaul of how the Government's GP subsidy is doled out.

"Fees are becoming increasingly over time more expensive for many patients around the country," New Zealand College of GPs president Tim Malloy said.

In 2008, the average cost of seeing a GP at non-low-cost practices was just over $29.

In 2017, it's now nearly $42 dollars.

The National Health Survey shows that last year nearly half a million people didn't go to the doctor because of the cost.

"We need to ensure that the maximum subsidy is for those people who are in greatest need," Dr Malloy said.

The Labour Party's health spokesperson David Clark said the low-cost access model for GPs needed to be reviewed.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has asked health officials to look at other options for GP funding, but does not think public access to GP's in New Zealand is restrictive.

"You've got quite a mixed picture but the bottom line is 2.1 million New Zealanders are getting either heavily subsidised or free GP consultation," Dr Coleman said.

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