Parliament

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

 

Heather Roy's Diary - 8 December 2006

Heather Roy's Diary


The Two-Child Policy?

Political 'spin' is the art of finding trendy words to hide unpopular ideas. Even normally intelligent people can be drawn in by "carbon neutrality" or "sustainability", and it's only by digging that we find out what these buzzwords really mean. So it was that a small, deeply green group called "Sustainable Wellington Net" was unearthed advocating that families should limit themselves to having two children.

To give some credit, they're slightly more generous than the "one child" policy of Communist China, but I agree with BNZ Chief Economist Tony Alexander, who said that "ultimately, this is where the deep greens' argument becomes unstuck, because the planet would be better without any humans on it". Like Tony Alexander I have five children and I can't help wondering if he, like me, would like these "deep greens" to tell us which three out of our respective five we should put back?


Health 2006

In the same way that Sustainable Wellington Net obviously considers the planet would be a better place without people it is often joked that hospitals would run so much more smoothly if they didn't have patients to contend with. As the year winds up it is a good time to look at the year that was in the health sector.

Next Wednesday 3000 hospital service workers have announced their intention to strike, causing further disruption to public hospital services. Industrial action has set the scene in health this year showing that all is not well with those working at the coal-face.


2006 strikes include:

* Junior doctors - 5 day strike in June by 200 junior doctors

* Radiation Therapists - 5 day strike in June

* Radiographers - 250 Radiographers engaged in strike action for 5 days in September

* Radiographers - 260 Radiographers, 10 day strike in October

* Laboratory workers - 7 day strike in November/December by 1200 lab workers


Waiting Lists culled:

The strike action added to the woes of those on waiting lists, with further cancellations of surgery and delays to out-patient appointments. District Health Boards were instructed to tidy up waiting lists, in reality dumping anyone waiting more than Labour's six month time limit for assessment or treatment. Those who refused would lose funding, so DHBs had little choice but to send large numbers of people back to their family GP because they couldn't be seen in time. The actual numbers of patients affected by the waiting list culling are hard to pin down, but were in the tens of thousands, with 4500 from Canterbury alone. The real problem is that because of the way the Ministry of Health collects figures it is impossible to tell how many Kiwis need treatment but cannot get it - which is very convenient for a government that is failing New Zealanders.


Herceptin:

Research strongly suggests that Herceptin halves the re-occurrence of HER-2 positive breast cancer, yet PHARMAC steadfastly refuses to fund this medication. The government had a billion dollars to give to "Mallard's Folly" on the Auckland waterfront, but nothing to offer a chance of survival to women suffering from this type of cancer. PHARMAC quickly followed up its latest rebuff of Herceptin with the announcement that it had successfully underspent its budget last year by $19million.


Pathology Services:

Diagnostic MedLab - provider of laboratory services to Aucklanders for the past 70 years - lost the contract to perform test in Auckland to a new provider with no laboratory, no staff, and no track record. Aucklanders are rightly fearful about the viability of services from 1 July 2007.

In Wellington, patients referred for tests by private specialist will have to pay for services which their GP or public specialists can prescribe for free. This widens the gap between public and private treatment even further, but Health Minister Pete Hodgson says all these changes to pathology services are just fine with Labour.


Primary Care:

Five years after the introduction of Primary Health Organisations, at the cost of an extra $1.2billion, there have been no significant measurable health gains. This expensive government experiment has cost a huge amount, tipped previously good after hours services into chaos, and many people just can't find a GP that will take them onto their books. The GP shortage continues, but the government is in denial.


Maternity Services:

There are continuing problems with the funding of Maternity Services and the number of midwives is at a critically low level. Many pregnant women cannot find a midwife to register with, and only a handful of GPs now deliver babies, having been effectively driven out of this branch of medicine.

There are many other areas with difficulties too, but it is time to concentrate on some answers.


The Right Prescription

Health professionals are expected to be grateful for whatever government gives them - yet they are the reason the health system does not collapse. They often have no choice of who they work for, because the government is their monopoly employer.

The artificial barrier between private and public should be torn down to allow better access to services for all. Both private and public providers play a role in making Kiwis healthier. When people are in need of help, it shouldn't matter where the services come from.

Better health starts with better lifestyles, proper food and exercise. Even Santa could benefit from a little time in the gym this Christmas.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Criminalising Of Rap Music


For black youth in America, there can be only three ways out of the ghetto: athletics, music or drug dealing. And for every individual who succeeds in making it out, dozens more attach themselves to their celebrity crews in order to bask in the reflected glory, and partake of the lifestyle. And what rap musician can afford to turn their back entirely on the ‘hood, when staying street and staying real is what their audience demands of them..?
More>>



 
 

Government: New Zealand To Stay At Orange For Now
With New Zealand expecting to see Omicron cases rise during the winter, the Orange setting remains appropriate for managing this stage of the outbreak, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today... More>>

Australian Election: Prime Minister Congratulates Anthony Albanese
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated Anthony Albanese and the Australian Labor Party on winning the Australian Federal election, and has acknowledged outgoing Prime Minister Scott Morrison... More>>

Government: Helps Supermarket Shoppers Get A Fair Deal
Urgent Budget night legislation to stop major supermarkets blocking competitors from accessing land for new stores has been introduced today, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Dr David Clark said... More>>


Government: Independent Panel Appointed To Review Electoral Law
Justice Minister Kris Faafoi today announced appointments to the independent panel that will lead a review of New Zealand’s electoral law. “This panel, appointed by an independent panel of experts... More>>


Trade: Prime Minister To Visit United States
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is leading a trade mission to the United States this week as part of the Government’s reconnection strategy to support export growth and the return of tourists post COVID-19... More>>


National: Jacqui Dean To Retire From Parliament In 2023

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean has announced that she will not be seeking re-election at the 2023 election. “I have advised the President and Leader of the National Party that I have decided not to put my name forward... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels