06 August 2014

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) is disappointed in the Labour Party’s proposal to increase the level of Very Low Cost Access (VLCA) funding, rather than better targeting patient need.

“While increased funding in primary care is welcome, allocating it in this way perpetuates a system which has already proved to be flawed,” says NZMA Chair Dr Mark Peterson. “VLCA funding operates at a practice level rather than a patient level, relying on geography rather than patient need.

“This means some relatively well-off patients enjoy the benefits of low co-payments while, more importantly, others who are much less able to afford the cost of consultations miss out because of where they live and who their doctor is.

“What the NZMA is looking for is better targeting of health funding to improve the fairness of the system and create more opportunity to support all high- needs patients.”