27 October 2011
Free after-hours health care for children under six will help to ensure they have the best start in life and better health, says the New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) which has welcomed the Government’s announcement today.
“We are pleased that District Health Boards will work with local GP networks and after-hours clinics to extend this free care to under-sixes. This collaborative approach is strongly supported,” says NZMA Chair Dr Paul Ockelford.
“In some areas of the country the cost of after hours care is unaffordable for many families and it is of real concern that children needing care may be missing out. It is essential that children requiring medical treatment have access to medical care before their illness becomes so severe they need to go to the emergency department.”
“The health of some of our children, particularly those from low socio-economic backgrounds, is of real concern. Making after-hours care free for under-sixes will enable families, particularly those which are most vulnerable, to access the health services their children need.”
Dr Ockelford says that the policy will go some way towards addressing health inequities and greater investment in our children is essential to improve lifelong health outcomes.
The after hours rollout is expected to take place 1 July 2012.