Rising costs mean one in six Kiwis can't afford a visit to the doctor, according to the Labour Party.

New research published in the New Zealand Medical Journal reveals 25 per cent of adults are unable to get the healthcare they need, and 16.5 per cent miss out on visit to the GP because of the cost.

Retiree Bruce Campbell say the prices in Whanganui are "shocking".

"When I go to the doctor I would be in his surgery for five minutes and they charged me $40."


Mr Campbell says he knows elderly patients who are finding it more and more difficult to get their regular check-up.

"I'm not complaining for myself, but I believe we're being bloody well ripped off."

A Whanganui Regional Health spokesperson says general practices received a portion of their funding from the Primary Health Organisation of the region.

This level of funding means most general practices in the Whanganui region charge between $30 and $40 and must make a request to the PHO before raising their prices.
Practices in low decile areas can apply to their PHO to receive a higher amount of funding through the Very Low Cost Access (VLCA) scheme.

To qualify a practice must have at least half of its patients qualify as high needs.

If the practice does qualify it receives the funding required to charge under $18 per visit.
Whanganui Castlecliff Health has in the past charged $18, but have told patients rising costs mean it will have to put its price up to $35 in April.

Labour's Health spokesman David Clark said the Medical Journal research showed price rises were in response to a lack of funding by the Government.

"These findings confirm the damage the Government has done to the health system by underfunding it by $1.7 billion, allowing GP visits to become unaffordable for many adults.

"The average GP fee has increased from $29.11 in 2008 to $40.71 in 2016 with some people paying up to $70 a visit. Kiwis are delaying the health care they need and for some this leads to a late diagnosis."

Gonville Health Centre and Te Oranganui Medical Centre receive VLCA funding and charge $18 and $17.50 respectively.