Labour has acknowledged the importance and value of primary health care by announcing a comprehensive funding package to bolster the sector if it is elected to government, says Dr Tim Malloy, President of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners.
“It’s clear from today’s announcement that Labour is taking health seriously and is willing to address the shortfalls and inequities of the current funding system,” says Dr Malloy.
“For years the College has been warning of a looming GP shortage and the inequity of the current Very Low Cost Access subsidy,” he says. “This package goes a long way to address these issues and it also promises a much needed review of the entire health funding system.
“This level of commitment is significant, appropriate and timely. It will help us develop the GP workforce required to service New Zealand’s increasing, ageing population, and it will help ensure all Kiwis can afford to see a doctor when they need to.”
While Dr Malloy concedes the announcement is no guarantee of future funding, he says the announcement holds a lot of promise.
“If Labour were to be elected, the College would hope to be involved in the discussions and plans for the roll out of these policies,” says Dr Malloy.
“Who knows what will happen after 23 September, but for today, we’re very pleased primary health care is being taken so seriously,” he says.
“The College will work with our fellow general practice organisations and whoever is in government to help ensure their policies can translate into workable, on-the-ground solutions that will help our GPs continue to deliver good quality health care to all New Zealanders, regardless of their income and location.”