Foodbanks get a boost as the govt continues to keep northern parts of NZ under Alert Level Three constraints

Uh, oh.  Chris Hipkins , the Minister in charge of the response to Covid-19, had nice things to say about the good people of Northland and the Waikato but the announcement that mattered was bad news.

His press statement declared:

“It’s … great to see Northlanders coming out to get vaccinated. There have been 19,691 vaccinations in the past seven days – that’s more than double the previous week.”

And:

“The Waikato has done a phenomenal job in getting tested and getting vaccinated…”

But you were right if you were expecting a “but” was on its way before Waikato people could celebrate that cheering observation:

“However, this morning we were informed of two new cases that are as yet unlinked to the existing cluster.”

Health authorities believe the risk from these two cases is low and there will be few locations of interest.  Great ….

“However we need to assure ourselves that there is not undetected transmission before lowering alert levels. Genome sequencing is underway and will hopefully shed new light on these cases.”

Moreover,

“…we still don’t have confidence we have a full enough picture of the situation in Northland.”

Thumb screws, water-boarding, stretching on the rack and other techniques for extracting information from people who don’t want to explain themselves or dob in their companions are not being made available to our authorities, apparently. Continue reading “Foodbanks get a boost as the govt continues to keep northern parts of NZ under Alert Level Three constraints”

Pharmac looks likely to get a pick-me-up after review team reports on its state of health

Our Beehive Bulletin … 

The Beehive has drawn attention today to the help being dispensed by the kindly Ardern government and other agencies for Covid-affected communities after alert levels (and levels of social inconvenience) were raised.  But Pharmac, the state’s controversial drug-purchasing agency, is to undergo a rigorous examination before changes are prescribed.

The Nats said the review is long overdue.

The PM said the Pharmac model broadly works well and gives New Zealanders access to the medicines and products they need to live healthy lives,

“ … but we have heard people’s concerns about the model, and we believe there is scope for improving it.

“Pharmac is a model that’s critically important to the health sector, and viewed as world-leading, but let’s make it better if we can.”

Health Minister Andrew Little said concerns raised about Pharmac include access to new medicines, timeliness of decision making, and the application of criteria that inform Pharmac’s prioritisation and funding decisions. Continue reading “Pharmac looks likely to get a pick-me-up after review team reports on its state of health”