Every Whanganui GP practice now signed up for free under 13s doctors' visits

7 August 2015
Every GP practice in the Whanganui district has now committed to providing free doctors’ visits for under-13-year-old patients attending a standard daytime visit to a GP or practice nurse.
Whanganui Regional Health Network (WRHN) chief executive Judith McDonald says while one provider is unable to offer a free service until October due to a timing issue, the intent to offer it to children attending their practice, is now confirmed.
Mrs McDonald says besides being delighted with Whanganui’s participation rate she’s quietly confident that the changes will improve access to healthcare for primary and intermediate school children.
“In doing this I think we can expect to see fewer late presentations to general practices and therefore, fewer visits to Whanganui Hospital’s Emergency Department and fewer admissions to hospital,” Mrs McDonald says.
The zero-fees scheme also includes removal of the $5 co-payment fee previously charged for each prescription item for children under 13.
Whanganui Accident & Medical is providing free after-hours visits for under 13-year-olds and an agreement is in place with Whanganui’s after-hours pharmacy to remove charges from prescriptions for under 13s. General practices are required to explain their after-hours arrangements to their patients. 
Introduced on 1 July this year, the zero fees scheme has attracted 96 percent of New Zealand’s general practices which between them, care for 98 percent of the country’s children.