26 Aug 2017

Labour pledges to cut doctors fees by $10 a visit

3:50 pm on 26 August 2017

The Labour Party is pledging to cut doctors fees by $10 a visit across the board if elected to government.

Last week the National Party promised it would give an extra 600,000 people access to $18 GP visits.

Labour today announced in South Auckland a pledge to cut doctors' fees by $10 a visit.

Labour today announced in South Auckland a pledge to cut doctors' fees by $10 a visit. Photo: RNZ / Sara Vui-Talitu

Under Labour's plan, people enrolled at Very Low Cost Access practices or who have a Community Service Card would see their maximum fee cut from $18 a visit to $8.

The fee for teenagers would drop from $12 to $2 a visit.

People at other practices would get $10 off a visit if their practice chose to take up the extra funding offer.

The policy would cost $260 million a year.

Labour's leader, Jacinda Ardern, said the plan would mean people could get the care they needed, when they needed it.

"This initiative will cut fees for New Zealanders while we undertake a full review of the primary care system aimed at better targeting subsidies, ensuring practices' financial sustainability, and reducing other barriers to access.

"This review will keep zero fees for under 13s and look to further lower fees for others."

National Party leader Bill English said the plan was just another example of a half thought through policy from Labour.

"This ideal that you say to a whole lot of middle and higher income people that we'll take back the tax reduction you might have got of $20 every week, where they can make a choice every week about how they use that money, and in return they get $10 off a doctors visit.

"It's not well thought through, it's not well targetted."

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