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Time for government to step up and sort out 'after-hours debacle' says Tamihere

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Time for government to step up and sort out 'after-hours debacle' says Tamihere
John Tamihere

On Friday - the first day of winter - Westies will see billboards, adverts and information directing them to free medical care at Waitākere Hospital's Accident and Emergency department.

We advocate this on behalf of the many families in our community who cannot afford the $92 after-hours charge, if you don't have a Community Services Card, at the White Cross Medical Centre on Lincoln Rd, West Auckland (after 6pm and before 8am Monday-Friday).

This goes up to $107 on weekends and public holidays.

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.

This campaign does not mean families should not go to their own GPs when practical.

What we want to highlight is the fact many families can't afford the surcharge.

Even with a Community Services Card it still costs $42 after-hours and weekends.

Some families will wait until the next day, or if they fall ill during the weekend, wait for Monday to get to their local GP because they don't have the cash for the after-hours clinic.


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.

Hospitals have a duty of care and I would expect anyone who presents themselves to Waitākere Hospital's Accident and Emergency department to be treated with the respect and courtesy they deserve.

To support this campaign, which is in its fifth year, we have billboards around West Auckland, adverts in next week's Western Leader and have taken out signage on the digiboard along Lincoln Rd.

Our preference is for the Government to step in and take over the after-hours debacle because clearly the private sector is rorting it.

Remember it's your choice.

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