Te Hiku Hauora Medical Director Dr. Norma Nehren praises the NDHB for their efforts to increase access to GP visits for children with their Free Under 13 GP visits and prescriptions.  They started this in October of 2014 in advance of the Ministry’s roll out of the same programme scheduled for July 2015.

“Although we had already been providing free clinic visits for children under the age of 18 for over two years, the access to free prescriptions and after hours for our younger children has been a real boon.”

In a recent article, Mr Chris Farrelly, from Manaia PHO, was concerned that the children in the Far North had not shown the same increase in access to GP care that those down in Whangarei have done since October.

He has his heart in the right place, but seems to be missing some important information.  You wouldn’t expect such a big increase in the Far North since we had already increased free access to GP visits long before the NDHB started their programme.

In fact Te Hiku Hauora and Kaitaia Health Centre have offered free GP and Nurse visits to children all the way up through age 17 for much longer than this new NDHB programme.

So, the less improvement needed, the less improvement seen.  In 2012 we saw a similar increase in visits when we made children’s care free of charge.  It is great to see the rest of Northland catching up!