The Ministry of Health has started work with primary care to implement free after-hours GP visits for under six-year-olds.
Health Minister Tony Ryall announced last month that the Government was making funding available for GPs to offer the free after-hours service.
Mr Ryall says "The Government is keen to see free after hours for under-sixes in place, and the Ministry of Health is working through the initiative with primary care representatives. I have also asked the Director-General of Health to start DHB negotiations on this."
"This Government is committed to improving public services for families, and we don't want parents being put off taking their young children to the doctor because of the cost.
"We have been advised that after-hours fees for under-sixes can vary from $0 to nearly $100 per consultation in an extreme case, with an estimated average fee of about $17," Mr Ryall says.
DHBs will negotiate with local GP networks and after-hours clinics on a district by district basis aiming for a 1 July 2012 rollout.
Free medical care for under-six year olds to after-hours at an estimated cost of around $7 million a year.
"Not every after-hours clinic will want to help young children in this way, however we expect strong uptake by after-hours clinics," Mr Ryall says.