It is great to have another district health board candidate, Grant Brookes, up on the WCC Soapbox. Questions or comments for Grant can be left below. If your a reader, candidate or an organisation and want to contribute your own post you can submit pieces here.
Putting Health First at Capital & Coast DHB
After years of cuts, the cracks in the health system are starting to show.
The crisis in aged care was clear at least as far back as 2010, when opposition MPs Sue Kedgley and Winnie Laban led an inquiry into our country’s rest homes and home support services. Their “Report into Aged Care: What does the future hold for older New Zealanders?” clearly showed the emerging crisis.
But none of the recommendations were implemented, leading to the shocking stories of neglect – such as the rest home resident who was repeatedly left lying in her own faeces – on the front page of the papers today.
The DHB administers the contracts with these rest homes. I am standing as the Health First candidate for Capital & Coast DHB to put the care back into aged care.
In the public hospitals, meanwhile, we are now seeing stories of “care rationing” by overstretched nurses. This is the result of years of underfunding. The Ministry of Health acknowledges that the overall funding shortfall for the four years ending 2015/16 will be $1.5 billion.
To make things worse, the continuing cuts are driving short-term thinking at Capital & Coast. An example was the decision last year to axe funding for primary health services designed to keep people out of hospital.
I promote an “ambulance at the top of the cliff” approach to healthcare, focused on keeping people well so they don’t need invasive and costly hospital treatments.
This also means tackling causes of ill-health such as cold, damp and overcrowded housing. We may not be able to eradicate poverty, but we must at least rid the DHB of responsibility for the problem by ensuring all directly employed and contracted staff are paid a Living Wage.
Underfunding is also driving further privatisation, such as the move to contract out laundry services at CCDHB. I am opposed to cuts and privatisation.
Like my fellow candidate David Choat, writing in WCC Watch Soapbox a few days ago, I believe that highlighting and resisting underfunding is a vital role for the elected governors at our DHB.
And like him, I am committed to openness in decision-making, not secret discussions behind closed doors. I stand for local democracy, not remote bureaucracy.
The good news, however, is that the current election for Capital & Coast DHB is likely to deliver a Board more willing to take this path. I want to contribute to this new direction.
I am a WellingtonHospital nurse, so I understand the realities of care at the bedside and in the community. I also have experience in health sector governance, having just completed a term on the Board of Directors of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation.
Although independent, I am standing with NZNO endorsement. If elected, my connection into the health workforce will enable me to promote action for health outside the boardroom, as well as inside.
I am also committed to partnerships with Māori. I am honoured by endorsement from the MANA Movement.
My appeal to voters in this election is simple. When you fill out your ballot paper for Capital & Coast DHB, remember to put Health First.