Labour yearn­ing for qual­ity health­care

Eastern Courier - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - LIU CHEN

‘‘Too many peo­ple are miss­ing out...That's un­ac­cept­able.’’

Labour Party health spokesman Dr David Clark has held a public meet­ing with East Auck­lan­ders at Edge­wa­ter Col­lege.

At­ten­dees shared their per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences with the health sys­tem and made a wish list for fu­ture im­prove­ments.

Their ma­jor con­cerns in­clude de­layed di­ag­no­sis or treat­ment, dis­par­i­ties be­tween dif­fer­ent eth­nic groups and re­gions, and the lack of con­sul­ta­tion, in­for­ma­tion and other sup­port for pa­tients and their fam­i­lies.

They would also like to have ac­cess to govern­ment-sub­sidised health in­sur­ance and see the es­tab­lish­ment of a new hos­pi­tal in or around Auck­land.

Clark says the public health sys­tem is un­der­funded and the money in it should be bet­ter spent.

Should Labour re­turn to govern­ment, it would put $8 bil­lion more into the health sec­tor over the next four years, he says.

To fa­cil­ity equal­ity be­tween dif­fer­ent groups and pro­vide bet­ter care to every Kiwi, he’s look­ing to ‘‘in­sti­tu­tion­alise more gran­u­lar data anal­y­sis into the un­met need of the pop­u­la­tions’’.

He be­lieves in tak­ing ac­count of peo­ple’s health in the pol­i­cy­mak­ing of other govern­ment branches, such as ed­u­ca­tion, hous­ing and jus­tice.

‘‘Lots of other ar­eas have an ef­fect on over­all health out­comes more than just the health sys­tem it­self. One thing that sits on front of our pol­icy is that we want to have health in all poli­cies,’’ Clark says.

A re­view of the health sys­tem is needed, Clark be­lieves, and he’ll or­gan­ise a health sum­mit within the first 100 days of be­com­ing the health min­is­ter, if voted in.

‘‘I want to call to­gether the whole sec­tor and have a conversation about the kind of change we need to make.’’

On his long to-do list is mak­ing sure ev­ery­one has ‘‘af­ford­able ac­cess to qual­ity health­care’’.

‘‘Too many peo­ple are miss­ing out. We know that over 500,000 New Zealan­ders last year didn’t get ac­cess to a GP for rea­sons of cost. That’s un­ac­cept­able.’’

He knows of men­tal health prob­lems and chal­lenges in this part of Auck­land given sev­eral par­tic­i­pants have put for­ward the is­sue. Other ar­eas he wants to im­prove in­clude age care, cancer care and emer­gency ser­vices.

A dean at Edge­wa­ter Col­lege, Clint Sa­ma­seia, who at­tended the meet­ing, says he hopes the func­tions of the Min­istry of Health can work along­side edu- cation to sup­port chil­dren.

Labour has en­cour­ag­ing state­ments, Sa­ma­seia says, but ‘‘needs to make sure that there is clar­ity in those things’’.

LIU CHEN / STUFF

The Labour Party’s can­di­date for Botany, Tofik Mame­dov, spokesman for health Dr David Clark, and can­di­date for Paku­ranga Barry Kirker at the public meet­ing on health.

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