Fit and well
The New Zealand health system should be renamed the sickness system because it’s heavily geared towards helping people who are already sick.
It is not strongly geared to preventing sickness.
A quote to describe the philosophy used is that we place our ambulances at the bottom of the cliff.
Even the term used by the government – preventative health – is itself highly confusing.
It’s clear that our hospitals already can’t cope as quickly and efficiently as they should with current workloads.
Obesity is steadily increasing with one area of Auckland – Counties Manukau – stating that 60 percent of men are headed towards type 2 diabetes.
When you consider that the increase in doctors and nurses is not keeping pace with needs, then consider that the ageing babyboomer population is the fastest-growing population segment, we need to have a radical new solution.
Our newly elected government for 2008 should instead adopt a wellness system and change their focus.
The solution is to encourage most of the population to take personal responsibility for staying well.
After all, 80 percent of those in hospital are there as a result of poor and preventable lifestyle habits.
The most significant impact on health can be achieved through daily exercise and healthy nutrition.
Planned education can impact on nutrition.
Kiwis could be directly and strongly encouraged to exercise regularly if rewarded in the pocket.
A proportion of what is invested towards a structured exercise programme could be made a tax credit of say $500 a year.
Other countries are already doing this.