Free doctors visits for Hawke's Bay youth

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Hawke's Bay is the first DHB in the country to implement a zero fees scheme for doctors visits aimed at youth aged 13-17 years old.

Chair of the Hawke's Bay District Health Board Kevin Atkinson says, "We know a barrier to health, for young people, has been the cost to see a doctor - so we are taking away the barriers and building up equity into who can see a doctor." 

The proposal will roll out in March next year and is aimed at low-decile areas in the region that have a high Māori and Pacific Island population.

"We've spoken to our whānau with many children and they just see this as a great benefit for them as it's actually putting money back into their pockets," says Patrick LeGeyt, Programme Manager for Maori health.

Practices can opt to enrol in the scheme which will cost the DHB around $500,000 to cover the cost of the doctors visits.