Working for better health care in New Zealand

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) is the professional association and union uniting doctors and dentists in New Zealand.

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Health experts divided over changes to national targets

28 June 2018 ASMS

Health experts have sounded a word of caution over the government’s decision to scrap targets set by National. The government quietly stopped work on measuring the targets in August last year – a move the National Party says could lead to more illness and deaths. Under National, targets focused on increasing immunisation, faster cancer treatment, shorter stays in emergency departments, access to elective surgery, helping smokers to quit and raising healthy children. District Health Boards across the country tracked how …

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No guarantee no-one will go blind as many await eye surgery

27 June 2018 Radio New Zealand

People living in South Auckland are losing their sight as doctors struggle to treat the soaring number of patients suffering from eye conditions. The Counties-Manukau District Health Board has been struggling for years to meet patient demand and the backlog remains stubbornly high.  Auckland DHB doesn’t have a backlog, but Counties Manukau has 4000 people waiting to see a specialist. Why is there such a difference? Simon Dean is head of ophthalmology at Counties Manukau. He tells Susie …

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Board member calls to scrap DHB elections ahead of review – ‘No’ says Health Minister

27 June 2018 Natalie Akoorie - New Zealand Herald

Taxpayers will fork out millions to elect hundreds of health board bosses just four months before a major review of the health system is due. One board member is calling for next year’s elections to be scrapped to await the outcome of the Government-ordered review, due on January 31, 2020. But Minister of Health David Clark said he had no intention of postponing or cancelling the elections. Read the article here:

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How’s your DHB doing? Govt does away with National Health Targets

27 June 2018 Stacey Kirk - Stuff

Public reporting of District Health Boards’ (DHB) performance of procedures including elective surgeries, cancer treatment times and Emergency Department wait times, has been axed. It also appears a new project to publicly measure elective surgery referrals and rejections has also been quietly shelved, with the Ministry of Health failing to release updated figures since the election. Health Minister David Clark said the targets created “perverse incentives”, particularly in relation to surgery – but the Opposition said there was no evidence to suggest …

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70 years of the NHS: a revolution that is reborn every day

25 June 2018 Owen Sheers - The Guardian

The creation of the health service changed Britain. Yet while this vision is under severe threat, it has also never been more keenly cherished. “In writing To Provide All People, I hoped to create a lyrical bridge between the birth of the most radical and beautiful idea we’ve ever made manifest and the people who embody that idea today: the staff and patients of the National Health Service. Moving between the story of its coming into …

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Crampton: protect NZ health staff

25 June 2018 Mike Houlahan - Otago Daily Times

New Zealand needs to recognise and protect its health professionals, the University of Otago’s outgoing pro-vice-chancellor of health sciences Peter Crampton says. “My personal view is that overall workforce development is undercooked in New Zealand,” he said. “There is a vulnerability there, and that sheets right back, probably, to the underpinning legislation which insufficiently holds DHBs to account for workforce development. “With the immense and multiple pressures that DHB leaders are under, it’s all too easy to see workforce development …

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Pay equity settlement for mental health and addiction support workers

22 June 2018 Media Release - Health Minister David Clark

Health Minister Dr David Clark is pleased to announce an estimated 5,000 mental health and addiction support workers will soon receive the same pay rates as care and support workers. “This Government is committed to pay equity and lifting wages, particularly for our lowest paid workers,” said David Clark. In an agreement with unions and employers, the Government will extend the Care and Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlement Act to include mental health and addiction support workers. Nearly half will …

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Ministry’s primary care appointee feels at home at ‘heart of system’

21 June 2018 Virginia McMillan - New Zealand Doctor

Juliet Rumball-Smith has worked in, researched on and built partnerships with primary care, all of which has cemented her view that it’s the heart of the health system. “All the evidence points to [care provided in the community] being better for the patients and for the system as a whole,” adds Dr Rumball-Smith, who is soon to start at the Ministry of Health as clinical chief advisor with a focus on primary healthcare. Not yet ready to comment on the …

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Hunt and May apologise for Gosport hospital deaths

21 June 2018 The Guardian - Haroon Siddique, Caroline Davies

The UK government has apologised to relatives of hospital patients who died as a result of being given life-shortening opioid drugs without medical justification and said criminal charges could follow. An independent inquiry, published on Wednesday, found that 456 patients died and possibly 200 more had their lives shortened because of the routine practice at Gosport War Memorial hospital. In a statement after prime minister’s questions, the health and social care secretary, Jeremy Hunt, described the …

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Nurses deserve to be paid more

19 June 2018 Media Release - Green Party

The Green Party said today nurses have historically been underpaid and undervalued and they deserve to be paid more. Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson was commenting after it was announced nurses rejected the DHBs’ latest pay offer in their ballot. “Nurses are totally professional, so for them to reject an offer of 9% over 15 months reveals how undervalued they feel after nine years squeezing by National,” Ms Davidson said. “We support their call for urgent mediation.” “Every day it …

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