Nurses ask us to vote for our health

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, April 5th, 2017 - 50 comments
Categories: accountability, health - Tags: , , , , ,

Well here’s a powerful statement:

Think of your health when voting this September, nurses urge

New Zealanders are being asked to think of the health system when they cast a vote this September. A nurses’ union released an open letter saying “it’s getting harder to do the work that we trained for”.

“Health underfunding means that sometimes we’re not able to give you the best. We are often short-staffed, rushed, and need a little more time to give you care,” the letter says.

“We are sad sometimes because of what we couldn’t do for your tamariki, your grandparents or your neighbour. Many of you are feeling frustrated by delays in getting the healthcare you deserve and expect. We are frustrated, too.”

The letter tells voters who they back is a personal choice and doesn’t name any political parties, but makes clear the organisation’s position that health funding is not adequate under the National-led Government. …

Here’s a selection of recent headlines for context:

Study shows ‘damning’ level of unmet health care need. “The Government needs to demonstrate its commitment to the health of all New Zealanders by addressing the high levels of unmet health need as a matter of priority.”

Nurses spending their own money to help patients – union. “The Nurses Organisation says hospital patients are soiling themselves because there aren’t enough nurses to help them to the bathroom.”

Leaked document shows 10 District Health Boards face budget cuts: King. “Labour claims that health has been underfunded to the tune of $1.7 billion over the last five years…”

Researchers claim NZ health budget declining, publicly-funded surgery on way out. “New Zealand’s health budget has been declining for almost a decade and could signal health reforms akin to the sweeping changes of the 1990s, new research claims.”

Families’ despair as hospitals face severe shortages for acute mental health treatment. “Hospital beds for people suffering from extreme mental distress are stretched to breaking point, with double as many people being seen for crisis assessments as there are bed nights available.”

Auckland’s crumbling mental health services. “The problem was a lack of funding as more people accessed mental health services and Auckland struggled with an increasing population and rising house prices…”

Thousands of patients going without hospital care, figures show. “Dr Mackay says funding levels for health are a “disaster waiting to happen…””

Call to government to address rural health crisis. “Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ), representing over 40 rural based organisations, says the country’s rural health and social workforce is in crisis.”

Patients turned away. “Nearly a third of orthopaedic patients referred for a first specialist assessment are being turned away from Dunedin Hospital, and the situation is becoming “untenable”…”

Despite denials, poor service plagues our health system. “New Zealand’s public health system, which was once the pride of the developed world, is clearly ailing.”

New Zealand’s declining health care system is slipping behind other countries’. “Our national health system was once the envy of the world; it is no longer. The facts show that we underperform in many areas.”

You could vote for three more years of “brighter future”. Or you could listen to the nurses.

50 comments on “Nurses ask us to vote for our health”

  1. Yes, we can listen to the nurses and the young doctors as well while we’re at it.

    Its time these successive neo liberal govts were shown the door.

    Neo liberal literally DOESNT work.

    It creates unemployment or at best a class of work slaves. End result?… these sorts of issues as outlined above.

    Lets all start voting accordingly and choose the party least adhering to that self serving ideology. First port of call ? – Get rid of English and his Nats. Give English his second crushing defeat . Some people need slightly broader hints to get the message. Hes one of them.

    Then lets start rebuilding our shattered health and education sector, our provinces and start improving wages and conditions in this country. And push for a progressive taxation to ensure these corporate’s pay their fair share . No more of this Lord and peasant drivel we have had served up for the last 33 years from these treacherous thieves.

    Vote the National party out of office this coming September.

    • Antoine 1.1

      You think a Lab/Green/NZ1st government would reject neoliberalism?

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 1.1.1

        Unfortunately maybe not yet. But they are showing hints of questioning neoliberal orthodoxy, while the nats continue to blindly and utterly embrace it.

      • jcuknz 1.1.2

        Better would be to give National A shock without letting any of the rabble in who did nothing different last time they had power.
        As I see the problem for Dunedin is that it is a ‘safe’ Labour stronghold so National don’t bother about it nor Labour who ‘know’ they cannot loose.

      • Bearded Git 1.1.3

        @Antoine
        Little has already rejected tax cuts which means this money can be spent on nurses and the health system.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 1.2

      Horrifically, I find myself agreeing with BM. Why have labour and the greens locked themselves into these stupid economic settings? Presumably because they think the electorate will accept nothing else. TINA anyone?

  2. Keith 2

    Truth be known that letter could have been written by unions for Doctors, CYFS, The Police Association, Corrections, Justice and on services to the public in general RNZ, DOC and NZ Post. Its all the same, shit service given by strangled budgets by overworked employees.

    Well done Nurses, tell it exactly the way it is.

  3. Antoine 3

    How much more would a Labour-led Govt spend on health?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      Nine billion dollars a year, I reckon. I haven’t looked it up on their website though, so I may be wrong.

    • BM 3.2

      They’ve rather corned themselves with that new budget rules announcement.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11823356

      One has to wonder where all this extra money is coming from?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2.1

        Not paying bribes to Saudi sheep farmers. Increasing revenue by running the economy better than National, just like every single Labour led government in this country’s history.

      • bwaghorn 3.2.2

        well they might do what key did and just get in and go back on their word , and raise taxs . except they would probably take money off those with more than they need as opposed to taking it off the poor buy raising gst.

      • Tax havens
        Progressive personal and corporate tax
        Royalty’s on any extractive industry of foriegn origin – including water
        Investment in NZ industry’s – including initial subsidy’s
        Re nationalization of former SOE’s
        Trade tariffs on all imported goods
        Renegotiating so called Free Trade deals

        TBH… the list is inexhaustible once neo liberalism is gotten rid of.

        • BM 3.2.3.1

          No one’s getting rid of neo liberalism, at best it may eventually evolve into something different.

          • Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster 3.2.3.1.1

            What it will evolve into is a full-on climate change catastrophe!

            What the ultra rich don’t seem to realise is that there’ll be no escaping rapid climate change – potentially, no one will survive, no matter how wealthy.

            Go, the nurses!

            At the very least, huge changes in the way we live will be forced on us.

            Most, but not all, courtesy of 30 plus years of neo-liberalism!

            • WILD KATIPO 3.2.3.1.1.1

              Thatcher’s dead
              Reagan’s dead
              Freidman’s dead

              And whole long list of other neo liberal protagonists. And the only other direction they can go in now is ever increasing and tighter controls and domination of the public to maintain neo liberalism’s grip.

              If not before a general public revolt , … by a sheer process of attrition.

              THAT is how it will decline. And it will be replaced by a more or less Keynesian model, somewhat modified and modernized. There IS NO other alternative.

              Barring a few variants on the theme.

          • jcuknz 3.2.3.1.2

            A meld of left and right as I have suggested before BM.

          • Tricldrown 3.2.3.1.3

            That’s why corporates don’t want world govt while they globalize democracy is the globalized companies enemy.
            As they would have to pay tax fair wages and distribute money more fairly.
            So brexit and Trump are good for the corporate vulture capitalists.
            Who push debt into economies and then control those economies with austerity.

          • Nic the NZer 3.2.3.1.4

            Don’t make me call you TINA.

      • Nic the NZer 3.2.4

        Hopefully they just figure out that the budget rules just don’t make much sense. Then ignore them and don’t worry about it. I recon when Labour gets in an economic cycle might turn out to be about 50 years long or something, that ought to do it.

  4. ianmac 4

    “New Zealand’s health budget has been declining for almost a decade and could signal health reforms akin to the sweeping changes of the 1990s, new research claims.”
    Remember the National part charges for Hospital visits in the 90s? A disaster as it cost more to collect the money than the money was worth.

    There was a deliberate National Plan in the 90s to run down the Public Health System so that Private (USA?) Business could take over. And this is exactly what is happening in the UK now except it is the lucrative areas where the takeover happens.

  5. saveNZ 5

    Go nurses!

  6. Stunned Mullet 6

    While it’s true that the proportion of expenditure on health decreased from 6.32 per cent to 5.95 per cent as a proportion of GDP in the five years to 2015.

    “It’s also true thaT operational expenditure increased by $2 billion, while core government spending increased by $8.8b. In the same period, GDP increased by $45.2b.

    Vote Health’s operational expenditure decreased from 6.32 per cent to 5.95 per cent as a proportion of GDP in the same five years.”

    We could spend vastly more on health in NZ and still not satisfy those on the left that believe that we should keep spending more until all societies health related ills are cured and those on the right that believe we are spending far too much and we should not fund half of what we spend money on at present. It is a after all is said and done a balancing act that the Labour and Natioanl led governments of the last couple of decades have done a fair job of managing.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 6.1

      A “balancing act” that results in 50% of the population having 4% of the nation’s wealth and the top 10% having 60%. Guess which group has the lion’s share of unmet health needs?

      The stars below compare the “Balance” between the average wealth of someone in the poorest 50% against the average wealth of someone in the top 10% in NZ.

      1 person in poorest 50% of NZ:
      *

      1 person in richest 10% of NZ:
      ***************************************************************************

      Go Balance!!

      • Drowsy M. Kram 6.1.1

        Thank-you for this very clear illustration of the gulf between the have-nots and haves in NZ.

        Wonder if any rwnj’s will try to run a ‘politics of envy’ rebuttal?

      • Antoine 6.1.2

        Link please

        • Drowsy M. Kram 6.1.2.1

          This is close (from June 2016, so maybe things have ‘improved’ since then, but who for?)

          http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/307458/10-percent-richest-kiwis-own-60-percent-of-nz%27s-wealth

          If the percentages in the linked pie chart (richest 10% own 50% of wealth, poorest 40% own 3% of wealth) are correct (you may be able to mount a critique – don’t forget to link to your evidence), then the 1 star * average (for the poorest 40%) versus the 67 star average (for the richest 10%) is simple maths (much harder to critique).

          US used slightly different numbers and got a 1 star * average (for the poorest 50%) versus a 75 star average (for the richest 10%).

          Are these sorts of differences in NZ wealth distribution too big, too small, or about right for a healthy, resilient society – what do you ‘reckon’?

          • Antoine 6.1.2.1.1

            I’m broadly comfortable with that. According to your link our inequality level is close to the OECD average and similar to countries like Portugal.

            There has been an increase in inequality (by this metric) in recent years driven largely by the housing crisis. Obviously the housing situation needs to improve.

            We have a public health system to provide (some) care to those who can’t afford to pay, which is a fine thing.

            A.

            • Drowsy M. Kram 6.1.2.1.1.1

              The majority of the top 10% are most likely “broadly comfortable with that”, and maybe some desire and are working towards even greater inequality (by this metric), although that’s conjecture.

              Personally I don’t think this level of inequality in NZ is healthy or sustainable, but at least you seem to be saying that you might become uncomfortable if inequality (by this metric) increased. What do you reckon your upper limit for NZ inequality (by this metric) is? 75 stars, 100 stars, 150 stars – just curious.

            • UncookedSelachimorpha 6.1.2.1.1.2

              What is surprising is just how little redistribution is needed to make a huge difference. You actually do not need a major revolution or anything close.

              By simple mathematics – if the richest 10% shared just 10% of their wealth (e.g. if John Key can manage with a mere $54m instead of $60m) then the poorest 40% can have three times what they currently have – which would make a huge difference to many people’s lives!

  7. Antoine 7

    A ‘little’ redistribution?? You are talking about 50 billion dollars here!

    • Antoine 7.1

      Think of this example. A couple in their 60s lives in Auckland. They own a modest house freehold, let’s say it’s worth $900k, and they have $100k of Kiwisaver. That’s their retirement savings. Now you want them to give $100k to random poor people??

      • Antoine 7.1.1

        Keep in mind also that a low net worth household may be young people with high income and no dependants…

      • left_forward 7.1.2

        $900K is a modest freehold – yeah right!
        The wealth of this couple is dependent on the society as a whole including the so called random poor people.

        • Antoine 7.1.2.1

          > $900K is a modest freehold – yeah right!

          You know what $900K will buy you in Auckland these days?

          > The wealth of this couple is dependent on the society as a whole including the so called random poor people.

          That is no excuse for society as a whole taking it off them!

          A.

          • left_forward 7.1.2.1.1

            Yes it is, because without the society as a whole, there would be no mechanism to make the capital in the first place. The society as a whole depends on the taxation of wealth in order to maintain the means of wealth creation.

            This is the classic riposte to the morally flawed libertarian idea that taxation is mere theft.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 7.1.3

        […my comment got mangled due to my use of “>” symbols! Try again…]

        While you feel that 900k is modest wealth, the “random poor people” are in contrast likely to only have a handful of thousands, and in many cases negative wealth (i.e. debt).

        As is common with greed apologists, you choose an example at the lower end of the scale (retiree mom and pop with $900k). You fail to explain why John Key needs over $50m, or Graham Hart over $10b, while others live in poverty.

        Your reference to “random poor people” suggests a rather unpleasant prejudice and attitude, by the way.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 7.2

      True, True, it really is very little – around the wealth held by only the richest 0.004% of the NZ population. Spread this redistribution over the top 1% instead, and they will hardly notice it.

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