Which parties care?
We’ve got a world class health care, if you can get it when you need it. More and more Kiwis are falling through the cracks as funding hasn’t kept up with our growing and ageing population and increased mental health need. To help you decide how to vote this election, we crowd-sourced six key health pledges we asked each party to commit to.
Help prevent suicide, it’ll take courage
Patrice Harrex with her son Brad Anderson, 25.
Brad Anderson, 25, was released from hospital despite saying he wanted to take his own life. Two days later, he was dead. Brad’s mum Patrice has written a letter with two other bereaved mums asking politicians to have the courage to fix our health crisis. Read the open letter.
Our health pledges
Hold an independent mental health inquiry in the first 100 days of the new Government, and commit to fund what it identifies as needed.
77% of Kiwis support an independent inquiry into mental health service. We need to know how an emergency department can release a teenager who says they want to kill themselves? Or why children have to wait three months for an eating disorder appointment, but the Ministry says this doesn’t happen? Or how the Government says staffing is sufficient when nine out of 10 people working in health feel understaffed.
Restore $2.3b of health funding to cover unmet annual health costs, commit to increased costs annually, and fund a national survey on unmet need.
The Senior Doctors’ association (ASMS) and Council of Trade Unions say the Government has underfunded health by $2.3b. Funding hasn’t kept up with our ageing and growing population, increased mental health needs, inflation, wages and new medicines. This mean’s we haven’t been able to maintain our current inadequate levels of service. In mental health this has resulted in delays which can, and have been, deadly. The mantra “do more with less” has become “do less with less”.
Set a suicide reduction target taking into account the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of 10% by 2020.
NZ has the highest youth suicide rates in the OECD. 579 people died by suicide in 2015/2016. Nothing will change without a clear, measurable target to give focus and accountability. A goal gives hope. If we don’t have a clear target how will we ever achieve our aspiration of zero suicides? The Ministry of Health’s Independent Suicide Prevention Advisory panel recommended one. So did the Director of Mental Health. Health Minister Jonathan Coleman
Significantly increase primary health funding to bring down GP and primary health costs, including therapies and other mental health needs.
One in six Kiwis can’t afford a GP. We have the worst access to equitable primary health, second only to the United States. The little primary mental health services that exist are inadequate. Only a limited amount of free therapy sessions are available and waiting lists are long. Most can’t afford to go private and go without.
Commit to evidence-based safe staffing to ensure patient safety and quality care.
Nine in 10 people working in health feel understaffed. People working in health do the best they can with what they’ve got, but they’re stretched and many feel burnt out. 70% feel their workload or work pressure is unreasonable. Unrealistic caseloads and fatigued health workers jeopardise patient safety. Understaffing reduces the ability to provide the level of care people need. Mental health staff often work 16 hour shifts to cover for vacancies.
Require landlords to make their rentals warm and dry, and subsidise low-income homeowners to achieve the same for their homes.
Having a healthy place to live is key to physical and mental well-being. Yet 40,000 children in New Zealand are admitted to hospital every year from preventable illnesses linked to poverty and unhealthy homes. Homes should much us feel safe and loved, not sick.