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Kate Hawkesby: I'd have thought, at this time of year we'd be doing more to help the health system

Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Tue, 12 Jul 2022, 10:27am
Photo / NZ Herald
Photo / NZ Herald

Kate Hawkesby: I'd have thought, at this time of year we'd be doing more to help the health system

Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Tue, 12 Jul 2022, 10:27am

The health system crisis is the cost of living crisis all over again isn't it?

Doesn't this have a familiar ring to it?

A government in denial of something existing, which is laid bare for all to see, in broad daylight, in every part of our community, and yet politicians heads are firmly in the sand.

Nothing to see here.

Governments are always reluctant to use the word crisis, but our health system has been gradually falling apart for so long that it's now gotten to the point where those working in it are crying out for help at every level.

Hospitals, GP's, nurses, doctors, midwives, health staff across the board are all saying it's an issue, they're over worked, under staffed, under resourced, under paid, exhausted, burning out and yet, somehow, the Government manages to have its fingers in its ears on this.

The headlines have persisted nonetheless. The stories have gotten worse and yet, the Government can't or won’t see it.

Well surely they must see it, they just won't acknowledge it.

Health minister Andrew Little, infamously said it was a system that was "coping" when asked if the health workforce was in crisis.

He still won’t admit it’s in crisis even though he must know that it clearly is.

The Prime Minister was asked about it yesterday and told media that the health workforce was working really hard and doing a great job.

That wasn’t the question, and no one doubts they’re not working really hard, or doing a great job. But it's easier to ignore the question and answer something different than it is to face facts. Maybe by pretending she's misinterpreted the question she's hoping it'll go away.

But it hasn't and it won't.

It's getting worse. There are surgery cancellations, delays and months long waiting lists to see GPs in some areas. In other areas, there's just no GP at all.

Nurses are at their wits end, they're scarpering for better pay and conditions and a quieter life elsewhere. We're losing them and we can't replace them. Nursing schools came up with an idea to fix the nursing shortage but got shot down by government.

I mean why look at a tangible solution being offered up when it's easier to just reject that there's a problem?

Regional GPs have offered up ideas for how to fix the regional GP problems, again, ignored.

Ideas from within the sector itself seem to either get rejected outright or fall on deaf ears. The first part of fixing a crisis is admitting we actually have one. If politicians can’t face the reality, or admit it, how do they even begin to fix it? 

We know it’s not an easy fix, but there’s no weakness in admitting that your health professionals are struggling with overload and at least looking like you’re interested in helping to sort it. A lack of any government interest, empathy or honesty means the sector continues to languish and without any hope.

Which I would've thought at this time of year, with all this sickness swirling around us, is beyond remiss.

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