14 Jun 2010

Doctors fear free emergency care will be lost

11:58 am on 14 June 2010

Doctors at Queenstown's Lakes District Hospital are worried planned changes to health care will force people to pay for emergency services.

The Southern District Health Board (SDHB) plans to use private GPs in the emergency department in Queenstown to vet patients before they can be treated.

Nine doctors working at Queenstown's hospital say they absolutely oppose the plan because it will remove the basic right to get free emergency care.

The SDHB wants to set up an Integrated Family Health Centre - a first for New Zealand - where a private general practice is combined with hospital services.

Many of the 266 submissions received are concerned free emergency department services will be compromised by the SDHB's proposals.