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Howard’s End: Rural Areas & Third World Health

Excuse Me! Are we are third world country or what? It's been revealed in Greymouth today that a bleeding pregnant patient had to wait 38 hours for a scan. An angry John Howard writes.

A woman admitted to Greymouth hospital with serious pregnancy complications was left to wait 38 hours for a scan because no weekend radiology service exists.

She miscarried while in hospital.

Coast Health Care chief executive, Sue Belsham, confirmed that ultra-sound scans were not available at Grey Hospital after hours. The hospital had to rely on radiologists visiting from Christchurch.

And then there's the problem of no x-ray machine at all in Hokitika - some 35 kilometers from Grey hospital.

Recently, my wife had to travel all the way to Greymouth just for a simple x-ray for a suspected broken finger.

This surely highlights the folly of the distance medicine panacea which has been touted by bureaucrats as the medical save-all for remote rural areas.

It seems to have been forgotten that finally a human being has to physically do something - like taking a scan or x-ray.

And then there's our state highways on the Coast with single road-rail bridges across rivers? When they are closed at night for repair, which one is at the moment, there is no alternative access to get to hospital in an emergency.

Helicopter you say. Oh really! - availability, weather and costs make that difficult at the best of times.

Would those living in the cities tolerate these third world conditions? I doubt it, and what's more the politicians wouldn't be allowed to get away with it.

I was angry, therefore, to see that so much parliamentary time has been wasted on Dover Samuel's predicament. And yesterday, a ruling by the Speaker really took the cake.

Jonathon Hunt ruled, after much costly deliberation no doubt, that it was no longer acceptable to call the head of a Parliamentary committee a chairman, or indeed a chairwoman.

In the future they are all to be gender neutral and referred to as chairpersons, or more correctly Mr Chairperson or Madam Chairperson.

Get real!

I only know about that because I read it on the newswires. You see, unlike other New Zealander's, we can't even receive the parliamentary broadcasts on the Coast. It's too expensive to provide it to us, so the story goes.

The point I make is that if this country continues to marginalise and discriminate against whole communities then as it sows, so will it reap - And $120 million for the Coast will not make the slightest bit of difference to that mindset.

Put simply, for all the politically correct speech, it's hard to actually change what's truly in the hearts and minds and people - that's why political correctness will ultimately fail.

Another friend of mine, the fourteenth in 12 months, has recently left for overseas. His departing words " Farewell New Zealand, I leave your shores without regret."

His wife reminded me of the Glen Campbell song "Try a little kindness." She said Kiwi's have become a narrow-minded people living on the narrow-minded streets.

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