Wellington Scoop

Healthcare petition on hospital stretcher delivered to MP

News from ActionStation
A combined petition of over 6300 signatures, signed by 1399 Wellingtonians, urges dramatically increased funding for healthcare services and will be delivered tomorrow carried on a hospital stretcher in time for this month’s budget.

“It’s an emergency situation,” says campaign spokesperson, student Anna Scorey. “Since 2010 Government funding for the country’s 20 district health boards has been cut by $1.85 billion because inflation, a growing and ageing population and the increasing cost of medicines have not been taken into account.”

“We are asking the Government to make up the missing $1.85 billion in this month’s budget,” Anna says.

The petition will be accepted by local Labour MP Grant Robertson and Labour’s spokesperson for Health David Clark on Thursday.

Fellow campaigner and massage therapist Ann Cloet says she has been impressed with the local support but also saddened by the stories they’ve heard while out while out collecting signatures weekly.

“I think everybody should have access to proper healthcare and I feel like in New Zealand access is a real problem. So as long as you get into hospital you’re going to get treated reasonably well but what’s not captured is the access and the people who fall through the cracks” says Ann .

She says the underfunding is affecting all areas of the system, for example putting extra burdens on overworked staff.

“I think it’s clear the staff are really being squeezed and you’re dealing with people and people’s lives so you shouldn’t be doing double shifts and things like that. It’s a profession to be respected and those guys should be supported” she says.

Grant Brookes, the president of the NZ Nurses Organisation, has said that the Capital and Coast DHB receives the lowest funding per head of population of all the DHBs.

“Capital and Coast also provides tertiary level services for other DHBs in the central region – for example neonatal services, specialist paediatric services, cardiothoracic surgery – yet receives the lowest funding per head of population of all the DHBs,” Brookes said.

Yesterday it was reported that Capital & Coast DHB aims to slash $33m through changes in clinical practice, improved management and increased revenue, and more than $5m is to be saved through ‘service reviews’.

Campaigner and filmmaker Aaron Bell says the DHB should be fully funded to meet growing demands, and not be forced to find more and more efficiencies. The $1.85 billion shortfall would pay for an extra 7400 doctors, 27,750 nurses or 111,000 hip operations he says.

“New Zealanders are entitled to a healthcare system that is there when and where they need it, that takes care of those who care for us, and which provides quality mental health care. I’m really concerned we’re not getting any of that at the moment,” says Aaron.

The petition: http://www.saveourpublichealth.com/wellington-and-kapiti-coast.html

About ActionStation
ActionStation is an independent, crowdfunded community campaigning organisation representing over 150,000 New Zealanders acting together to create what we cannot achieve on our own: a society, economy and democracy that serves all of us – everyday people and the planet we love. http://www.actionstation.org.nz/