NZNO welcomes proposed new initiatives from the current National-led Government to improve healthcare access to disadvantaged New Zealanders, but Associate Professional Services Manager Hilary Graham-Smith cautions against exaggerating expected uptake of schemes that involve the Community Services Card.
“More families on low incomes being able to pay less for adult GP visits is welcome as is the extra help for families in high housing cost areas,” Hilary Graham-Smith said.
“Extending the access to the Community Services Card to more people does not particularly result in a greater take-up of cheaper GP visits because the complicated process to get a Community Services Card is off-putting and there is a stigma associated with having a card like this, so many don’t bother getting one.
“While the fee cap for Community Service Card holders is excellent, it is an exaggeration to claim that this will actually result in a lot more people seeking out the healthcare they need and deserve.
NZNO commends initiatives that target school-aged children, through universal access to nurses in every school as promised by the Labour Party.
“This approach is likely to result in better health and mental health outcomes for children and youth. In addition, this has the potential to fully utilise nursing workforce and give priority to the health and well-being of children and young people,” Hilary Graham-Smith said.
“Regardless of who becomes the next Government, we advocate for a review of the funding and delivery of primary health services so that they truly are utilised by all New Zealanders”
NZNO has released its Nursing Matters Manifesto 2017 as an outline of what its members expect any government to deliver. NZNO seven priorities:
• A sustainable, fully utilised nursing workforce
• Investment in public health
• A primary health care approach to improving population health
• Orange Tamariki – health and well-being of children and young persons
• Safe clinical environments
• Fair Employment
• Social and health equity in Aotearoa, the Asia Pacific region and globally.
The NZNO Manifesto 2017 can be accessed here.