Some Kiwis skipping costly doctor visits

  • 24/03/2017
Labour says health has been underfunded by $1.7 billion (file)
Labour says health has been underfunded by $1.7 billion (file)

One in six Kiwis are skipping visits to the doctor because of the cost, according to a new study that's being cited by the Labour Party.

Health spokesman David Clark says the study, published in the New Zealand Medical Journal on Friday, shows 16.5 percent of people who needed to see a doctor missed out on a visit because they couldn't afford it.

He says the average cost of a visit was $40 last year, with some people paying up to $70.

The study also reported that 9 percent of adults have an unmet need for hospital or specialist care.

"Kiwis are delaying the health care they need and for some this leads to a late diagnosis," Dr Clark said.

Labour says health has been underfunded by $1.7 billion since National came to office.

"For too long, this Government has sat on its hands, allowing the heath system to crumble. They need to stop distracting with artificial performance targets while ignoring the real problems," Dr Clark said.

"Even in countries with state-funded health systems, there is evidence of unmet need and inequitable access to healthcare services," the study's authors wrote.

"A national survey of unmet need for secondary care has never been undertaken in New Zealand."

The data was collected between November 2015 and February 2016.

NZN / Newshub.