The first day of the North Island leg of the Yes We Care roadshow was a wet and wild affair. It saw us getting absolutely drenched outside Wellington hospital with a dedicated group of organisers, delegates and volunteers from the PSA, NZNO, RMTU and CTU. A very big thanks to all who turned up for braving the weather to help get the North Island leg off to a successful start.
Our roadshow crew was reunited after a much needed day of rest and we were straight back into it. But not without issue though, the rain made it incredibly difficult to get good photos, with water getting everywhere, and the lenses on our cameras fogging up. Today was definitely one of the most challenging days logistically.
Difficulties aside, we were reminded that this roadshow is not just about the stories from individual patients, or people who work in health, but about the community. We were in Newtown, which as part of south Wellington, has the highest ratio of people with mental health needs. Yet funding is allocated according to population numbers, rather than population need, meaning this high needs area is missing out on crucial resources simply because of underfunding. This has resulted in the closure of health Clinics over the past few years, when rates of depression and anxiety have increased.
Our second stop today was in Lower Hutt, where we heard from health staff who were unable to take annual leave or sick leave as there was nobody to cover them. This has led to increasing levels of stress and burnout for staff, creating potentially unsafe working environments where staff are unable to take their breaks or adequately rest. We need to look after our healthcare workers so they can look after kiwis.