Monday, September 7, 2009
Re the Hutt News article concerning the reorganisation of HVH Maori Mental Health:
The Maori and Pacifica mental health unit will be disbanded through the reorganisation of mental health at the Hutt Valley Health Board.
We have had a family member being treated there for over 18 months now. We had him transfered when we became disillusioned with the mainstream Mental Health Unit at Hutt Valley DHB. Actually we have been considering having him transfered back again because we have not been happy with his treatment at the Maori Mental Health Unit.
Claims that this decision by HVDHB is rascist and an attempt at assimilation is wrong, insulting and rather stupid in my opinion. I don't believe the Maori Mental health Unit has been successful in recent times at servicing the needs of Maori and Pacifica patients; and they are patients not clients. I think it has been through overwork and staff shortages, not through any lack of ability. Some of the doctors and staff have been quite brilliant at what they do, when they are able to do so!
Lets face it, mental health has been the poor relation in the health sector for a few decades now. To give them more money is philosophically seen as taking money away from mainstream health. Which in itself is totally stupid. The National Party is probably worse than the Labour Party who has been bad enough. To be fair National closes units and department down and Labour doesn't know how to respond!
The general philosophy is these days that all patients should be out in the community - but this is as wrong as sending them all off to Porirua Hospital, and filling them up with strong medication and electric shock treatment.
There is a need for a balance because patients can get into a psychiatric unit at a public hospital only if they are considered as a danger to themselves or others! It can take weeks sometimes to get somebody admitted to the unit at Hutt Hospital - we know because we have been in that situation with our family member. Going up the wall and barking like a dog is not necessarily a good reason for getting admitted. Yeah right!
Hopefully the reorganisation of mental health at the Hutt Valley DHB will be in the best interests of all patients regardless or ethnicity. Those who claim racism, should pull their heads in. If we are not happyat the changes, we can again criticise those responsible. Quite frankly there should be reform at a national level. Can you see it? Yeah right!
Saturday, September 5, 2009
IS THIS A SHOCKING INDICTMENT OF THE AMERICAN HEALTH SYSTEM, AND PERHAPS OF AMERICAN SOCIETY AS WELL - MEDICAL HEALTH TOURISM A NEW INDUSTRY...
Is this a shocking indictment of the American health system, and perhaps of American society as well? Please read on:
A recent "20-20" television program in New Zealand exposed the problems existing in the American health system. The story starts in Idaho Falls, USA. An American woman named 'Heather' required a full hip replacement. The basic cost in America was US$60,000 exclusive of all other costs involved.
But like 45 million other families, 'Heather'and her family do not have, and cannot afford health insurance. Neither does she qualify for any form of government assistance, reserved for the very poor or those with identifiable needs. Sadly for her president Obama's proposed health scheme, if passed into law, will be too late for 'Heather'. She needs a full hip replacement now, or she will spend the rest of her life in a wheel-chair!
After some extensive online research, 'Heather' discovered she could get her hip-replacement offshore, not in Mexico for example, but in an English- speaking First World country down in the Pacific - New Zealand.
The total cost for 'Heather', inclusive of all associated medical costs, hotel bills and food for both her and a companion(her mother)would be US$23,000 all up!
'Heather' was able to find a foundation within the US who were prepared to pay half of her costs, and family and friends raised the other half.Then it was off to Auckland, New Zealand.
After flying to NZ and settling her mother into her hotel room, 'Heather' went to meet the surgeon responsible for her operation. She was interviewed and met the medical staff at the private hospital where the full hip operation was to be performed.
A new hip is guaranteed for about ten years, though some last indefinately.
She had her operation at a top private hospital in Auckland. They had the latest navigation system available to line-up her new hip.
Her operation was a complete success, and recovery took four weeks, during which time she was given an exercise regime, including walking. She was then passed fit enough to return home to the US for her rehabilition - with its market driven health system, which President Barack Obama is trying to overhaul. His opposition is coming from self-interest groups in the American health system, including the vast health insurance lobby.
So far there has really only been a trickle of clients such as 'Heather' seeking treatment outside the US. This has become known as "medical tourism".
How will this affect medical treatment for local Kiwis in the future? If this trickle becomes the flood that is anticipated it could well affect costs here in New Zealand. NZ could handle 2000-5000 clients a year, but if a tsunami of 20,000 clients hit NZ annually there could well be ramifications for the NZ health system - availabilty for operations could be compromised and costs could soar, affecting the state system as well.
There is no doubt that the estimated 15 million or so Americans will be going somewhere offshore from America in future years, and NZ will become a desirable destination and will get its share of an industry that could be equivalent to its present multimillion dollar wine industry. But what sort of "strain" could be put on the NZ health system? Could there be just a little temptation to sqeeze in some foreign clients into the NZ public health system too?
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Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Traffic lights around Parliament could feature a green woman instead of a green man as part of a new proposal to make Wellington more recognisable as New Zealand's capital city.
Prime Minister John Key and Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast have launched the "Capital City Initiative - Our Extraordinary Democracy" which aims to improve the area around Parliament in preparation for the city's 150th anniversary in 2015. The area will be rebranded Capital Centre.
Cr Gerald Blunt from the Wellington City Council says the idea of changing the little green man on the traffic lights around Parliament to a little green woman is a reference to votes for women.
Mr Blunt says plans are also in place to build a visitor information centre.