"The Government’s free prescription lolly scramble is a wasted opportunity," says ACT Deputy Leader Brooke van Velden.
“Yesterday’s budget does absolutely nothing to address the chronic underfunding of GPs which is crippling the sector.
“What’s the point of a free prescription if you can’t see a doctor?
"Last year only 3.3 per cent of prescriptions weren’t filled because of cost, which shows that most people don’t have a problem paying a five dollar part charge.
“What’s really sad is that the Government is giving five bucks to a lot of people who don’t need it, when they could have delivered a real change in healthcare outcomes to those most in need.
ACT has a much better prescription for primary healthcare.
“A government-commissioned report by Sapere calculated that GP practices’ current net deficit is $137 million per annum. A GP workforce survey (2022) found that 79 per cent of GPs rate themselves as burnt-out to some degree, and 48 percent of GPs rate themselves as high on the burnout scale.
“ACT would provide General Practices with the funding boost they deserve. They play too important of a role in New Zealand’s health system for things to continue as they are.
"ACT will invest $163 million for General Practice capitation in 2023/24, with ongoing increases in outyears. That’s $715 million over four years, which will make a material difference to GP practices and health outcomes.
“Labour could have provided targeted support to those most in need by removing prescriptions fees for community card users and using the rest of the money to help GPs. Instead, they have wasted millions on welfare for the wealthy. It’s a tragedy."