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Francesca Rudkin: How are you navigating our health system at the moment?

Author
Francesca Rudkin,
Publish Date
Tue, 25 Oct 2022, 12:20PM
Photo / File
Photo / File

Francesca Rudkin: How are you navigating our health system at the moment?

Author
Francesca Rudkin,
Publish Date
Tue, 25 Oct 2022, 12:20PM

A Wellington family is speaking out this morning, sharing their experience with the health system after their 4 year old son died after complications from tonsillitis.

The parents sorted treatment at the Kenepuru and Wellington Regional Hospitals, and the main complaint is the level of time it took for their son to be seen, and a lack of response to some of his symptoms.

The matter is still before the coroner and being investigated by the Health and Disability Commissioner, but the family is speaking out because they don’t want this to happen to anyone else.

It’s a tragic, heart-breaking and isolated story, but it does raise the question, as a parent, do you feel heard when explaining your concerns about your child or adolescents health, or do you find you’re more often than not being told to just administer Pamol?

Parents – and often first time parents – can be overly concerned about their babies and children. Been there, done that. And children seem to pick up virus you’ve never heard of as an adult like slap cheek, and I had no idea that kids could get Hand, Foot and Mouth.

But just because you’re dealing with an overly cautious parent doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be heard. As babies grow into toddlers and older, I tend to think the main caregiver develops good intuition as to when the child needs medical treatment beyond Pamol, when they really aren’t right.

We shouldn’t dismiss that intuition.

There have always been long waits in Emergency Departments. We know services that were already struggling before Covid, are even more stretched now. We know that factors such as winter aliments, increased demand and staff illness also places pressure on the system.

I have faith that our medical professionals are doing their best to give people the best care they can. But mistakes are going to happen when our health system is under pressure.

It’s not just EDs under pressure – our GPs are also under great pressure.

Dr Brian Betty, College of GP’s Medical Director, summed up the situation on Mike Hosking Breakfast this morning.

The wait times in some areas of New Zealand to see a GP are quite frankly horrific. The pressure on ED’s and primary care are intertwined, and we’re suffering for it.

So with an understanding of the pressures and issues – how are you navigating the health system at the moment? Are you struggling to get treatment, do you feel heard when you visit the doctor?

How easy is it to get a diagnosis? Are you concerned that mistakes will happen when our health system is under pressure?

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