Roadshow calls for more health funding

YesWeCare coalition say the Government has underfunded the public health system by $1.85b.

YesWeCare coalition say the Government has underfunded the public health system by $1.85b.

CARDBOARD CUT-OUT HEALTH CARE: Gisborne delegate for New Zealand Nurses Organisation Treve Swann, addictions adviser and councillor Dick Johnstone (with Fletcher) and PSA’s Simon Oosterman, all support the YesWECare campaign for a “fully-funded public health system”. The cut-out figures represent the health professionals they say are missing in an underfunded public health system. Picture by Liam Clayton

TWO hundred cut out figures standing in Heipipi Park yesterday afternoon represent nurses and other medical professionals absent from the public heath system because of inadequate funding, say the YesWeCare roadshow, which has campaigned in Gisborne.

The PSA-led YesWeCare coalition, representing 83,000 Kiwis working in health, ActionStation, the Peoples’ Mental Health Review, Council of Trade Unions, First Union and Unite, says the Government has underfunded the public health system by $1.85b during its three terms.

The campaign, on a 38-town tour of New Zealand, was supported in Gisborne by local health workers.

One was New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) delegate Treve Swann, who said Hauora Tairawhiti was suffering from staff shortages and a lack of recruits because of Government underfunding.

The health board recorded a $6 million deficit last year and was experiencing budgetary difficulties again this year.

At the same time Gisborne Hospital was treating more sick people and had high occupancy rates over summer.

The hospital, Ngati Porou Hauora and primary providers were "all struggling”.

Insufficiently funded primary providers would eventually increase costs for Gisborne and Te Puia hospitals.

Shout Out for Health, a NZNO-led campaign was also calling for a fully funded public health system, Mrs Swan said.

Ron Elder, a member of the public, said he had recently been discharged from Gisborne Hospital and could only praise medical staff.

But waiting times for first specialist appointments and for surgery were still too long in his opinion.

The public health system needed more funding and he opposed the “ideological’’ decision to put more funding into private health at the expense of the public sector, he said.

Memo Musa, chief executive of NZNO, said more health funding had to be pumped into the Budget each year.

“Our members have told us underfunding is now affecting patient safety, access to care, triggering care-rationing, health-worker burn out and straining the infrastructure.

Mr Musa, a former chief executive of Whanganui District Health, said health boards had for some time been under pressure to balance their financial books and meet health targets.

They were operating with shortfalls in health funding. It could not go on.

$1.85b was equal to 9250 doctors or 22,840 nurses, or 111,000 hip operations, he said.

The YesWeCare Roadshow was in Wairoa yesterday morning.

The roadshow started in Levin on March 14 and will end at Cape Reinga on March 29.

TWO hundred cut out figures standing in Heipipi Park yesterday afternoon represent nurses and other medical professionals absent from the public heath system because of inadequate funding, say the YesWeCare roadshow, which has campaigned in Gisborne.

The PSA-led YesWeCare coalition, representing 83,000 Kiwis working in health, ActionStation, the Peoples’ Mental Health Review, Council of Trade Unions, First Union and Unite, says the Government has underfunded the public health system by $1.85b during its three terms.

The campaign, on a 38-town tour of New Zealand, was supported in Gisborne by local health workers.

One was New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) delegate Treve Swann, who said Hauora Tairawhiti was suffering from staff shortages and a lack of recruits because of Government underfunding.

The health board recorded a $6 million deficit last year and was experiencing budgetary difficulties again this year.

At the same time Gisborne Hospital was treating more sick people and had high occupancy rates over summer.

The hospital, Ngati Porou Hauora and primary providers were "all struggling”.

Insufficiently funded primary providers would eventually increase costs for Gisborne and Te Puia hospitals.

Shout Out for Health, a NZNO-led campaign was also calling for a fully funded public health system, Mrs Swan said.

Ron Elder, a member of the public, said he had recently been discharged from Gisborne Hospital and could only praise medical staff.

But waiting times for first specialist appointments and for surgery were still too long in his opinion.

The public health system needed more funding and he opposed the “ideological’’ decision to put more funding into private health at the expense of the public sector, he said.

Memo Musa, chief executive of NZNO, said more health funding had to be pumped into the Budget each year.

“Our members have told us underfunding is now affecting patient safety, access to care, triggering care-rationing, health-worker burn out and straining the infrastructure.

Mr Musa, a former chief executive of Whanganui District Health, said health boards had for some time been under pressure to balance their financial books and meet health targets.

They were operating with shortfalls in health funding. It could not go on.

$1.85b was equal to 9250 doctors or 22,840 nurses, or 111,000 hip operations, he said.

The YesWeCare Roadshow was in Wairoa yesterday morning.

The roadshow started in Levin on March 14 and will end at Cape Reinga on March 29.

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