Press Release – Care Not Cuts
“New figures released by Ministry of Health show that Capital and Coast District Health Board has the worst access to primary health care of any of the major DHBs in the country,” said David Choat, Capital and Coast District Health Board member. “The figures show that underfunding is really impacting on service for people living in Wellington, Porirua and Kapiti.”
The figures released by the Ministry of Health are based on the 2011/12 New Zealand Health Survey, which involved face-to-face interviews with more than 12,000 adults aged 15 years and over from throughout New Zealand.
While Capital & Coast’s results for many of the indicators in the survey are comparable with the rest of the country, the district’s results for what the Ministry calls the ‘Barriers to Accessing Health Care’ category are significantly worse:
Approximately a third (33%) of Capital and Coast residents had experienced unmet need for primary health care in the past 12 months, compared with just over a quarter (27%) for New Zealand as a whole;
Capital & Coast’s rate of unmet need was worse than that of any of the other six large DHBs for whom results were reported (Waitemata, Auckland, Counties Manukau,Waikato, Canterbury and Southern);
The population group most likely to experience unmet need in the Capital & Coast district was women aged 15-24, 44% of whom had experienced unmet need.
The most common form of unmet need was being unable to get appointment with a GP, nurse or other health care worker at their usual medical centre within 24 hours, – 21% of Capital and Coast residents had experienced this, compared with 15% for New Zealand as a whole. Capital & Coast had the worst result of the large DHBs, with a rate twice as high as the best performing district, Waitemata (10%).
“These findings show that people in our district are unable to access healthcare when they need it. The DHB needs to address this urgently.”
“When people cannot access doctors, it is not only dangerous for them but the DHB also pays the price in avoidable hospital admissions and poor health outcomes.
“I will be raising these poor results at the DHB Board meeting this Friday and requesting that the Board urgently address this.
“The DHB needs to admit that we cannot cut any more and be upfront with the Minister of Health Tony Ryall that he cannot keep expecting the DHB to do more with less. The Government should use their upcoming budget to fund DHBs properly.
“In 2010, the Chief Executive Ken Whelan left the DHB saying that he just could not cut any more; we are now seeing the dangerous impacts of this underfunding.”
David Choat is speaking as an individual Board member and not on behalf of the Board as a whole. He was elected to the Board in 2010 and is standing for re-election to the Board this year as the candidate for the Labour Party.