Topic: Health

Free doctors visits and prescriptions start today for under 13s

By Maiki Sherman

Today the Government's initiative of free doctors' visits and prescriptions for under 13-year-olds comes into effect.

The initiative was announced in last year's Government Budget and is an extension of the under 6's initiative already in operation.

Brothers Petera and Tana Retimanu come from a family of seven children, three of whom are eligible for the free doctors visits.

Over 400,000 New Zealand children are eligible under the scheme.  Apart from free doctors visits, prescriptions will also be free.

The Māori Party says it had a major influence over the Government's commitment in this area.

Marama Fox says, “We have been pursuing this issue for a long time within Cabinet, Tariana Turia in particular.”

Despite that the Green Party says 1 in 10 children will still miss out.

Of the 1000 GP services in New Zealand, 96% have signed up to the initiative.

The scheme will cost the Government $90 million over the next three years.