Faithful BayBuzz readers know I’m queasy about the quality of NZ health care. Not that my own doctor isn’t fine, or that I don’t appreciate the occasional free visit to physio.
It’s kind of like politicians … we tend to like our own MP, but “those guys in Wellington” are real meatheads.
To take the pulse of the health system, I collected all health headlines from a search of the NZ Herald and Dom Post in the month of October. It’s hard not to get cold sweats over headlines like these …
- Hospital tensions on the rise
- Maori and Pacific cancer treatment rates worries board
- Woman scalded during labour
- Review finds maternity service gaps
- Health sector ills
- Mental health care falling short
- Babies and mums at risk
- Maternity services ‘on low priority’
- Health board says sorry for deaths
- NZ lagging behind in cardiac care
- Patient deaths ‘potentially preventable’
- And he still waits, seven months on
- Incentives needed to lure anaesthetists
- Heart patients deaths preventable
- Pharmac funding a cruel lottery
- Woman left with unfinished surgery
- Patients’ files lost in system
- Lost in the system: Hospital failings exposed
Versus these headlines …
- Most health boards are showing improvement
(based on Health Ministry study)
- Government trumpets success in health
(what else would they say in election year?)
- Patient hospital approval at 86.6%
(based on a survey commissioned by the Health Ministry)
Which set of headlines should we believe? Personally, I tend to give more credence to stories based upon genuinely independent (even better, peer-reviewed) studies than I do to the self-congratulation of the Health Ministry.
Arguably, these headlines reflect either:
- Alarmist headline writers running amok;
- Symptoms of a seriously ill health care system; or,
- Isolated aberrations that are not reflective of the true quality of health care in NZ.
Like I’ve said before … fearing the worst, I’m trying my best to stay healthy and out of the system! As for the parties …
- National says the system is choked by health bureaucrats, who absorb resources that should be re-allocated to frontline doctors, nurses and actual care-giving.
- The Greens say devote far more resources to prevention and wellness.
- Labour says not to panic … the patient is making steady improvement … take two aspirin and go back to sleep.
You can judge for yourself.