23 Aug 2011

Rangiora people want after-hours GP service back

9:27 am on 23 August 2011

Rangiora residents say the need for after-hours medical care in North Canterbury is higher than ever, with the influx of thousands of earthquake refugees to the area.

A community meeting was held in Rangiora on Monday to discuss the Government's response to a petition signed by 8000 people, asking for an afterhours GP service to be reinstated.

The petition was delivered to Parliament last month.

Organiser Paula Thackwell says people are frustrated with the lack of response to the petition, especially as the need for the service is steadily increasing.

Mrs Thackwell says other areas throughout the country will soon face similar problems if the Government continues to cut health services.

The on-call service was cut in July last year, forcing people to drive 40 minutes to central Christchurch for treatment.

Grey Power director Miles Jackson says many elderly people are stoic and will put up with illnesses until the doctor is available.

He says others who do want to seek help, can't afford the transport costs on top of the doctors' fees, which add up to more than $200 per visit.

Mr Jackson says the problem is not just confined to Rangiora. Temuka and Geraldine are also losing after-hours GP services.