Free GP visits & prescriptions for under 13s
Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman
Minister of Health
1 July 2015
From today all New Zealand children aged under 13 will be eligible to access free GP visits at any time of the day or night seven days a week, as well as free prescriptions.
“We want to support families in giving their children the best possible start in life. We are making it easier for families to get the medical attention their child needs,” says Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman.
“It’s fantastic that the sign up rate has exceeded expectations. Of the 1,012 general practices in the country, 96 percent have opted in for free medical appointments, covering 98 percent of children aged under 13. This includes all rural general practices.
“The initial uptake for under 6s was around 70 percent of general practices, that’s now up to 98 percent. We expect the number of general practices taking part in free under 13s will rise to a similar level.
“All pharmacies across the country will no longer charge families the $5 co-payment for each prescription item for their child under 13.”
In Budget 2014 the Government committed $90 million over three years to extend the current zero-fees scheme for GP visits and prescriptions for children aged under six to children up to the age of 13.
“ACC is providing an extra $27.5 million over three years to cover accident related GP visits,” says ACC Minister Ms Kaye.
“Based on the number of GPs and clinics who have agreed to provide free ACC visits to date, at least 95 percent of children under 13 will get free visits.
“We want to help children bounce back from injuries as quickly as possible so they can live healthy active lives.”
It is estimated that over 400,000 children will benefit from the scheme being expanded to under 13s, taking the total number of children who are benefitting from free GP visits and prescriptions to over 750,000.
DHBs will be required to ensure that children under 13 can access free after-hours care and prescription medicines in their area.
To find out more, check with your general practice team or pharmacist. You can also check out www.health.govt.nz/visiting-a-doctor or phone Healthline on 0800 611 116.
Angela Kenealy (Hon Jonathan Coleman) 021 220 0129
Glenn Donovan (Hon Nikki Kaye) 021 405 289
Last updated: Wednesday, July 1, 2015