Kiwi tourists face hospital ban

The agreement between Australia and New Zealand includes hospitals but not GP's in private practices. Photo / Thinkstock
The agreement between Australia and New Zealand includes hospitals but not GP's in private practices. Photo / Thinkstock

New Zealanders trying to sidestep doctors' fees while holidaying in Australia could soon be turned away from Sydney hospitals.

The New South Wales Department of Health is drafting a new policy to crack down on a growing trend where tourists visit emergency departments for minor ailments because it is free, instead of paying to see a GP in a private practice, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported.

The Australian Government has a reciprocal health care agreement with New Zealand, Britain and some European countries entitling their citizens to free "medically necessary treatment" in public hospitals. But the agreement does not include general practitioners in private practices.

New Zealanders who are permanent residents in Australia are eligible for free or subsidised treatment through Medicare.

- NZ Herald

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