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Free GP visits for more Northland children


Extending free GP visits and prescrip-tions to children under 13 means an extra 16,700 Northland children will be able to go to the doctor for free.

Health Minister Tony Ryall announced last week $90 million will be invested over three years to extend the free-under-6s scheme to children under 13 from July next year.

“From 1 July 2015, more than 400,000 primary school-aged children will be able to go to the doctor for free, any time of the day or night, and get their prescriptions for free,” says Mr Ryall.

“This is an important preventative health measure, as parents will be more likely to take their child to the doctor for treatment before their condition becomes severe. It will also help reduce the number of children presenting at our busy hospital emergency departments with an illness their GP could have treated.

“The existing free-under-6s scheme, along with higher immunisation rates, has led to a significant 14 per cent reduction in potentially preventable hospital admissions of children under five,” says Mr Ryall.

Because general practices are private businesses, the government will have to ne-gotiate subsidy arrangements with general practices over the next year.

Of the 1,029 general practices in the country, only 25 practices are not providing free visits for under sixes and 98 per cent of children under six can go to the doctor for free during the daytime.
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