7 December, 2012
More children receiving free doctors’ visits
There’s been a big increase in the number of children under six getting free doctors’ visits – the numbers are up 25 per cent on four years ago.
Health Minister Tony Ryall visited the Hillcrest Medical Centre in Hamilton today – one of the 965 general practices in the country providing free doctors’ visits to children under six during the daytime.
“We are committed to ensuring more young children get to see the doctor when they need to, and removing cost as a reason not to,” says Mr Ryall.
“95 per cent of children under six, including 98 per cent of children from low income families, are now receiving free doctor’ visits.
“This year we are investing over $30 million to provide free doctor’s visits for children under six – double what was spent in 2008.
“Young children can be especially susceptible to illnesses and can deteriorate quickly so it’s important they get the right care, at the right time and in the right place.
“Regular doctors’ visits also mean children are more likely to receive their vaccinations on time and be protected from childhood illnesses like whooping cough, measles and mumps.”
13 district health boards, including Waikato, have 100 per cent of the children in their communities enrolled at a general practice offering free visits for children under six during the daytime.
This year the National Government introduced free after-hours doctors’ visits and 97 per cent of Waikato children under six have access to free after-hours care.