Ground floor, Ilam Health Building, 110 Memorial Avenue, Burnside, Christchurch : Ph 03 351 6198 :

June 21st, 2023

Unavoidable Fee increase

July 2022

Increase in Patient Fees

We are very sorry that we have had to increase our patient fees and can understand the frustration this may cause our patients.

Why has this happened?

This increase is as a direct result of the government imposing a significant real-terms cut in funding from our services with effect 1 July 2022.

As at 31 March 2022, national inflation rises were running at 6.9%. Additionally, general practice has experienced a range of further cost pressures which has meant our total costs have risen by over 10% compared to this time last year.

The government has imposed a funding increase of just 3%. Our national representative body has been having further discussions with government officials but, to date, they are being ignored. General practice has no right or contractual means to negotiate our funding, despite what you might have heard the Minister of Health stating in the media

We want to treat our staff fairly. Our nurses and GPs have continued providing core services as well as providing our essential COVID response over the past two years. Yet the government funds our staff at a much lower level than equivalent doctors and nurses doing the same level of work in government-run hospital settings.

We think that is unfair. We also think it is important that we can retain essential staff to be able to continue providing essential services for you. We are well aware that our staff could choose to go and work overseas for a much higher salary – and they could do so tomorrow.

What if I can’t afford the increased fees?

Most importantly, you should not avoid seeking medical help when needed. If you have any problems paying or the fees put you off from seeing a doctor when you need one – please talk to us about it. For medical emergencies, you always have the right to attend and be seen at the Emergency Department at our local hospital – and there is no charge for this service.

What can I do to help?

Firstly, thank you for asking and for allowing us to explain this no-win situation we have found ourselves in. We hope we can reverse the government’s decision and reduce our fees again.

You can definitely help. This can be done very simply by e-mailing or writing to our local MP, Sarah Pellett and the Minister of Health to express your concern at the government’s decision to reduce funding for essential family doctor services.

From the Partners at Ilam Medical Centre