Moving on from the roof of the north island, Day 15 of the Yes We Care roadshow saw us stopping off in Tokoroa and Rotorua. Southern Waikato treated us to hot dry weather, making set up and pack down a sweaty affair. Entering into the Waikato DHB area, where they have the worst rates of access to first specialist appointments in the country, we have also been made aware of a troubling issue.
We’ve had reports that staff are being instructed not to come out and speak to us, or to the media. Yet this is not within the powers of the DHB to restrict this. People who work in health are one of the few professions protected by law when speaking out about issues of understaffing or under resourcing. Yet some DHB’s try to intimidate staff by wording their instructions in such a way that it implies they are not allowed to speak out, when in fact all they are saying is that staff are not allowed to speak on behalf of the DHB.
Luckily, this hasn’t stopped everyone from talking to us. We spoke to Raewyn in Tokoroa who is both someone who works in health, as well as a patient, or attempted patient as it turns out. She told us that GP’s are in such short demand in Tokoroa, that when she tried to book in to her local GP recently, it took over 2 weeks before they could fit her in due to lack of doctors. This meant people wound up going to the Emergency Department for care that could otherwise be handled by their local doctor.
We love talking to local people, and are always happy to promote what people are doing in, and for their local communities. If you have a story to share, and especially if you want to talk to us or the media about what you’ve been experiencing, come along to one of our roadshows, or go to YesWeCare.nz/share-your-story