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Your Route To X-rays and Scans Is Now Easier

Health Minister Shane/ Samuel Rillstone

Health Minister Shane Reti has confirmed $30 million will be spent to improve access to radiology, including by removing co-payments.

The money comes from baseline funding for Health NZ Te Whatu Ora, and aims to speed up diagnosis using X-rays, CT scans and diagnostic ultrasound.

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It would allow GPs and other primary health providers to refer patients directly for a scan instead of going through a hospital specialist.

Dr Reti said access to radiology for GPs was still varied according to the previous District Health Board rules.

"This means that, for instance, people living in the Hutt Valley don't get the same access to radiology available to people living in Wellington. At the moment, some New Zealanders are having to wait weeks or months to see a hospital specialist who then refer them to radiology services, where they may wait even longer," he said.

"Enabling primary health providers to refer patients directly, without waiting for a specialist, will help New Zealanders get an earlier diagnosis and enable specialists to determine the right treatment, sooner."

He said the first investment from the funding would be $2.6m a year in Wellington and Hutt Valley "to reduce co-payments and recognise increases in imaging numbers as the population becomes older and more complex".

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