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Two Reports Show Health & Poverty Gaps Widening

Two Reports Show Health & Poverty Gaps Widening

Two reports released last week show need for real concern about widening children’s health & poverty gaps, according to the Closing the Gap organisation.

The Perioperative Mortality Review Committee’s sixth report, looking at New Zealand deaths that occur within 30 days of an operation, shows people living in lower socio-economic areas had near double the rate of mortality from 2009 to 2013 against those living in more wealthy parts of the country.

The poorest patients were also almost twice as likely as wealthier patients to have emergency surgery, and also had 14 per cent more elective (waiting list) operations.

"This is a damning report on the glaring disparity on the health gap between the poor and the rich in New Zealand,” Closing the Gap spokesperson Peter Malcolm says.

“We fully support the comments by the committee’s chairman, Dr Leona Wilson that ‘every person in New Zealand has the right to expect the same standard of health care regardless of their socio-economic situation’."

Meanwhile the latest in a UNICEF 16 year series of reports into children’s well-being in developed countries shows New Zealand children near the bottom. Released last week, the report ranks New Zealand 34th overall out of 41. .

It finds that 19.8% of our children are living in income poverty, and 10.9% below the age of 15 lack secure access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that can ensure normal growth and development.

New Zealand’s lowest ranking is 38th out of 41 for the overall good health and well-being of our children. We were not ranked on "No Poverty", because the government was unable to deliver appropriate data, despite the issue of poverty being a significant election issue.
“The report shows we are very far from being the best place in the world for all our kids,” Mr Malcolm says.

“We agree with UNICEF NZ’s Dr Prudence Stone when she says: ‘The more we've focused on New Zealand's economic well-being, the more we've lost sight of our children's.’
“It’s time to start closing the gaps,” Mr Malcolm says, “not opening them”

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