Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Heather Roy's Diary

Heather Roy's Diary

Battle of the Somme - 90th Anniversary of New Zealand's involvement

In a week of anniversaries, including the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 bombings, September 15 marks the 90th anniversary of the deployment of New Zealand soldiers at the Somme.

As was the case for most of the First World War, the front line of the Western Front had been all but stationary in September 1916, and a decision was made to "break through" at the village of Flers. Tanks were used for the first time, and with a bold attack by the infantry, it was briefly thought the German defences would be pierced.

As is well known the offensive bogged down in mud, the Germans brought in reserves, and another stalemate position was achieved at terrible human cost.

Around two thousand Kiwis were killed and seven thousand injured - the worst casualties of WWI.

Lessons were learned by the Allied High Command that were to pay dividends later - but the pace of that learning was painfully slow. Many conclusions have been drawn from the disasters of the Somme and it remains a by-word for the high human cost of war.

Hodgson's Choice continued...

Last week we had the news that Waitemata District Health Board was facing an impossible situation - to cull the waiting lists by 800 by the end of September or lose $3 million in funding. While this is the only board we know the figures for, the other 20 District Health Boards will all be facing Health Minister Pete Hodgson's 'choice' between their patients and their funding.

The September 30 deadline is fast approaching - boards are under a lot of pressure, and things have been complicated again this week by a radiographers strike. Without x-rays, even more surgery has been cancelled around the country. Patients on waiting lists who need to be rescheduled outside the Ministry of Health's 6-month time limit can expect a letter saying they are officially discharged and have been referred back to their GP - many without being seen at all by a hospital specialist.

Labour's Health Roundabout

Associate Health Minister, Damian O'Connor, was at pains in Parliament this week to point out that the Waitemata DHB was not facing any penalty if they didn't meet their target numbers by the end of the month. Obviously the DHB doesn't agree, because clinicians have been urged via email to check their lists daily and discharge any patients who didn't attend first specialist appointments or couldn't be rescheduled within the Ministry's 6-month limit. The leaked email (which can be read at www.act.org.nz/wdhbemail) also re-enforced the importance of complying with the Government's "six-months-or-bust" directive.

This is a hard-line approach that the District Health Board has been forced into. $3 million is a lot of money for a board to lose - the equivalent of 200 hip replacements, 2600 grommet operations for children with glue ear, 1000 cataract operations or 30,000 first specialist appointments at a cost of $100 each.

The effect of this most recent culling is predictable. Patients will be sent back to GPs without being seen – they'll still require specialist assessment or further treatment that GPs are unable to provide, so will be referred back to hospital where they will go to the bottom of the list and wait all over again. This is akin to travelling around a roundabout without being allowed to exit at the right place, but instead being made to take the exit you started at, before embarking on the journey again.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>

ALSO:

More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news