The Ministry of Health website and the Minister of Health are out of synch, when it comes to elective surgery.
On a page last updated on August 10 last year, readers will find a section headed Health targets: Improved access to elective surgery.
This says the Government has directed the ministry to develop a new set of performance measures to improve health outcomes for New Zealanders.
While work is underway to develop these new measures DHBs will continue to report to the Ministry against the current set of health targets, as well as against a previously established suite of wider measures.
Readers are referred to the Health targets page for more information on the development of new measures.
On the specific matter of improved access to elective surgery, a sub-heading asks: What is the target?
The answer (drum roll, please) is:
The volume of elective surgery will be increased by an average of 4000 discharges per year.
Continue reading “The govt has no national health target for elective surgery – perhaps David Clark should tell his ministry”
Health Minister David Clark stoically resists pleas to intervene in the nation-wide junior doctors’ strike, which has resulted in thousands of doctors downing tools – or stethoscopes – following failed negotiations with district health boards on employment conditions.
But he has announced rewards for volunteer health workers and he has responded to questions in Parliament about the impact the doctors’ is having on patients.
Whether Clark has a thorough appreciation of all the impacts – and/or will publicly reveal them if he does – is arguable, but according to RNZ: Continue reading “Where’s Dr Clark while doctors press for more pay? Providing rewards for volunteer health workers”
Parliament’s health and justice select committee heard harrowing tales this week from women afflicted with advanced breast cancer pleading for the politicians to help them access drugs which would prolong their lives.
The Dominion-Post reported cancer patient Marg Dobson appealed for an inquiry into Pharmac — which she called the “gatekeeper of the public purse” –— claiming women with stage four breast cancer deserved “gold standard treatment”, whereas NZ offered only bronze.
Imagine, then, the plight of a woman living in a Pacific Island country or territory contracting breast cancer. Many Pacific Island countries and territories don’t have adequate screening, pathology, oncology, surgical or palliation services.
These nations face the triple burdens of high rates of infection-related cancer, rapid transition to cancers relating to reproductive, dietary and hormonal factors, as well as ageing populations.
Many of them are unable to provide cancer services, so patients either don’t receive care, or are treated offshore where resources allow. This poses a huge economic burden on countries, the patient and their families.
But at least NZ is now doing its bit to help the island states to ease this burden. Continue reading “Professor heads team to tackle the complexities of cancer control in small island states”
National’s Health spokesman, Michael Woodhouse, set out to win media headlines today by portending a ballooning of the combined deficit of New Zealand’s 20 district health boards to about $500 million. He came up with that number on the strength of information from his “sources“.
He said the growth in the deficit was disappointing and recalled Health Minister David Clark’s pledge – when he took office – to bring it under control.
His statement said:
“The deficit for 2018/19 could be more than four times as high as the last year of the previous National Government. The Health Minister said in December 2017 that DHB debt was ‘deeply concerning’ and ‘cannot be allowed to continue’ but it has worsened on his watch.
“More than a year after pledging to rein in the deficits, the DHBs are in a weaker financial position. Eight months into the latest fiscal year Dr Clark has yet to announce the approval of a single annual plan and he has stalled on releasing any financial details for the DHBs.” Continue reading “Alarm is sounded – health boards (we are told) will need another funding transfusion as their deficits rise”
When Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand would not join the countries that are signing up for a war against drugs – as championed by US President Donald Trump – she said her government has an agenda that is focused on addressing issues around drug use.
“We have a number of challenges that are quite specific to New Zealand and the type of drugs that are present, but also I’m taking a health approach.
“We want to do what works, so we are using a strong evidence-base to do that.”
Whether she will similarly use a strong evidence base to decide on how to reduce sugar consumption is a moot point.
Questioned a year ago by Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB, she said reducing sugar is a priority of the new government. Continue reading “The case for a sugar tax is sweetened if NZIER report is overlooked”
In one of the smartest moves he has made, Health Minister David Clark has recruited Steve Maharey to be Pharmac’s chairman. Unlike many of the “Labour luvvies” being named these days to various panels and other well-paid jobs, Maharey has genuine credentials for the task.
He was one of the most effective ministers in the Clark government and then moved out of politics when he believed he had contributed all he could in that sphere. He subsequently had a stellar period in public service as Vice-chancellor of Massey University from 2008 to 2016. Continue reading ” David Clark (it had to happen) gets something right”
Preacher Bill Subritzky, whose “patients” claimed his prayers could heal cancer, brought a team of evangelists to Wellington a few years ago to pray for the sick.
Health authorities warned people to approach their healing claims with “extreme caution”. But fliers distributed to Wellington households contained testimonies from Subritzky’s followers telling of miraculous recoveries from cancer, kidney failure and arthritis.
“I had kidney failure and was instantly healed after Bill prayed for me,” one says.
Rather than disparage the faith healer, blogger David Farrar proposed Subritzky spend a month at Mary Potter Hospice praying to cure their cancers. Continue reading “Let’s not just make it an option – let’s give rongoā Māori a cancer trial”