Why raising awareness is important
Many New Zealanders are not seeing their doctor because appointments are too expensive and because there is a shortage of doctors, resulting in extended wait times.
The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners wants more affordable doctors’ visits and more GPs. We want government to change the way it funds doctors’ visits and we want more GPs trained so doctors are available when you need them.
Cost is an issue for many
Half a million people can’t afford to see their GP - that’s one in nine New Zealanders. 21% of Maori and Pacific people can’t afford to see a doctor when they need one.
The current system is flawed. The Very Low Cost Access Scheme (VLCA) means some doctors’ surgeries in parts of the country considered ‘low decile’ get big government subsidies and only charge patients around $18 a visit, no matter how well-off they are. GPs that are not part of the VLCA scheme can charge around $70 a visit, irrespective of how easily a patient can afford this bill.
It’s an inequality happening around New Zealand. Struggling New Zealanders have to pay big doctors’ bills, while wealthier Kiwi get cheaper visits. This needs fixing.
Waiting times are a problem
The shortage of GPs in New Zealand means patients also experience long wait times when making an appointment. Even more concerning is the fact that 44 percent of our GPs are set to retire in the next 10 years. This means a severe shortage of GPs unless we train about 60 more each year for the next 10 years.
Share your story
We want to hear your stories, whether you or someone you know struggles to afford GP visits, is frustrated by the inequity of GP fees, or struggles to get in to see a GP at all.
Visit our Facebook page, write a comment, or send us a private message.
If you don’t feel like reaching out over Facebook, flick us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.