24 October, 2012
Free after-hours ACC visits for under six-year-olds
ACC Minister Judith Collins announced today that free after-hours doctor’s visits for under six-year-olds will be extended to visits covered by ACC.
Ms Collins says ACC will work with GP networks and after-hours clinics to extend the free medical care, aiming to have the new arrangement in place by 19 December 2012.
“The Government is focussed on improving child injury outcomes. Parents shouldn’t be put off taking their young children to the doctor because of the cost.
“Free after-hours visits will encourage families to seek urgent care for injuries when it is needed and before it’s too late.
“This will also help reduce the numbers of young children presenting to our busy hospital emergency departments with an accidental injury that a GP could have treated,” Ms Collins says.
To ensure the availability of free after-hours visits, ACC will negotiate with GPs and after-hours clinics to make necessary changes to contracts it has with accident and medical and rural general practitioners. There will also be a change to the regulations under which ACC pays for visits to other GPs.
To support providers implementing the policy, the total rate that ACC pays per patient visit will be increased by $5, to between $42.40 and $59.25 per 5-20 minute consultation. This will be offered for visits across the board, whatever the time of day.
“This will make it a lot easier for providers to offer free after-hours accident care and we look forward to seeing strong uptake of the programme,” Ms Collins says.
Interim measures will bring the change into effect on 19 December 2012. Permanent changes to the ACC regulations will be formalised in June 2013.