GP visits to be cheaper for those aged 25-44
5:00AM Saturday June 30, 2007
By Errol Kiong

Most New Zealanders aged 25 to 44 will enjoy cheaper visits to the GP from tomorrow.

Subsidies will cover 750,000 to 800,000 people in that age group, the last to benefit from the Government's seven-year spending programme on primary healthcare.

Costs to the patient for a visit to the GP will be $27.50 lower and prescription fees will drop from $15 to $3. The move will cost the taxpayer roughly $67 million (excluding GST) in the first year alone. GP fees average around $50 but vary widely throughout the country and can cost up to $70.

Medical Association GP council chairman Dr Mark Peterson welcomed the subsidy. "Patients in the 25- to 44-year age group will now benefit from this subsidy, as those in other age groups already have."

The Government's $2.2 billion-dollar investment in primary healthcare is designed to benefit the middle classes - those who do not already qualify by virtue of living in a poor area or a suburb with a high Maori or Pacific Island population.

But a Consumer survey of 334 GPs in May found that the programme was inadvertently raising the cost of GP visits for young children.

More here .