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Ministry of Health and Wellness to keep people wel

30 August 2005

Ministry of Health and Wellness to keep people well

A new emphasis on tackling the root causes of disease and on keeping people well, are the focus of the Green Party's Health Policy launched today.

It also seeks an expanded role for nurses, pharmacists and complementary health practitioners.

"The Greens want to shift the direction of the Health Ministry onto keeping people well and tackling the root causes of ill health, instead of only treating people once they have become sick. To help shift the focus the Greens would like to rename the Health Ministry the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Ms Kedgley says.

"We want to empower people to take greater care of their health and keep themselves well. Our free annual wellness checks are an integral part of this new approach. They are an opportunity to see a health professional when you're not sick and get advice about what you can do to stay healthy or get healthier.

"We also want Public Health Organisations to take a much more active role, and provide wellness checks and nutrition education to patients. All hospitals should be modelling healthy living. They should only sell and provide food that is nutritious and healthy.

"Instead of promising Band Aid solutions and quick political fixes, we want to address the fundamental issue as to why so many New Zealanders are becoming ill that the health system cannot cope, despite the fact that we are pouring $10 billion dollars into health each year.

"We need to tackle the root causes of ill health such as poor diet, poorly insulated homes, air pollution, toxins and adverse reactions to drugs, Ms Kedgley says.

The Greens want nurses to have an expanded role in primary and preventative healthcare, running nurse-led diabetes, respiratory and cardiac clinics around New Zealand. Mandatory staff to patient ratios will reduce the stress on health workers and improve the safety of healthcare.

Qualified complementary health practitioners should be integrated into PHO's and the mainstream health sector, and a Complementary Healthcare Unit set up within the ministry.

The Green Party's policy proposes a $20 million Nutrition Fund to encourage healthy eating initiatives, $20 million for an ERMA evaluation of the adverse health effects of toxins that are widely used in New Zealand, and an independent review of electromagnetic radiation, based on the possible effects on human health.

ENDS

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