Te Whānau o Waipareira is calling on the Government to take over the after-hour’s medical service.
Launching its Winter Campaign today, Waipareira CEO John Tamihere said the cost of after hours care was a hurdle for many families. A visit to the White Cross Medical Centre on Lincoln Rd, Henderson after 6pm-8am Monday to Friday costs $92, if you don’t have a Community Services Card. That jumps to $107 on weekends and public holidays.
Even with a Community Services card, the $42 cost is proving a barrier, Tamihere said.
“We know that the 6pm-8am time and weekends are crucial periods where babies and our elderly are extremely vulnerable – even more so in the cold winter months, and if they are living in damp housing conditions,” Tamihere said.
He said this campaign does not mean families should not go to their own GPs when practical.
“What we want to highlight is many families can’t afford the surcharge because even with a Community Services Card it still costs $42 after-hours and weekends.”
Some families might wait until the next day, or if they fall ill during the weekend, wait for Monday to get to their local GP.
“That can’t be allowed to continue. We don’t want our community being hospitalised at a later date – or in a worst case scenario, have someone die because they didn’t have the money to go to the after-hours clinic,” Tamihere said.
He said hospitals’ have a duty of care “and I would expect anyone who presents themselves to the Waitakere Hospital A&E Department, to be treated with the respect and courtesy they deserve.
To support this campaign, which is in its fifth year, Waipareira has billboards around West Auckland, placed adverts in next week’s Western Leader and signage on the digi board along Lincoln Road.
“Our preference is for this new government to step in and take over the after- hours debacle because clearly the private sector is rorting it,” Tamihere said.