WDHB clarifies misunderstanding about ED and WAM charges

30 March 2017


Following on from Wednesday’s Chronicle story titled Cost to see doctor gives patient shock, Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) says it’s important for Whanganui residents to understand that people do not have to pay for treatment received at Whanganui Hospital’s Emergency Department.


WDHB chief executive Julie Patterson said today there is certainly no charge for eligible patients (those who qualify for publically funded healthcare in New Zealand) who receive treatment at Whanganui ED.


“Furthermore, to have patients receiving free treatment at Whanganui Hospital’s Emergency Department but making a co-payment for treatment at WAM is no different than anywhere else in New Zealand,” Mrs Patterson says.


“Where the difference lies is that in Whanganui, we have these two distinctly different services sitting side-by-side so patients can enjoy the benefits of easy access to other services such as X-rays, regardless of whether they are attending ED or WAM.


“In other centres such as Wellington, where after-hours accident and medical services are not co-located with emergency departments, patients often need to travel elsewhere for further tests such as an X-ray. It might also be helpful to remind people that ED is for emergencies only. WAM is for accidents and urgent medical treatment.”