National announces $18 GP visits for community card holders

Dr Jonathan Coleman.
Dr Jonathan Coleman. Photo credit: Supplied

National has announced $18 caps on GP visits for Community Services cardholders – a policy reaching 600,000 low-income New Zealanders, including everyone on the accommodation supplement.

If elected, the party would extend access to the Community Services Card to an additional 350,000 people with low incomes and high housing costs.

Everyone receiving an Income Related Rent Subsidy or Accommodation Supplement will be entitled to a Community Services Card.

National's health spokesman Jonathan Coleman says the policy will help "reduce the numbers at emergency departments turning up with issues a GP could have resolved".

The expansion of the Community Services Card will mean more people will have access to cheaper prescriptions, free emergency dental care and free glasses for children.

National says the policy will cost $380 million over four years, to be met from the Budget 2018 operating allowance and would be active from 1 July 2018.