Min­is­ter trum­pets health ini­tia­tive

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By ANDREA O’NEIL

Mil­lions of dol­lars have been thrown at Porirua’s health prob­lems for decades, but things have only got worse, Health Min­is­ter Tony Ryall said last week.

Mr Ryall was at Pataka to launch a new Porirua Ac­tion Plan on health, aimed at re­duc­ing hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions of Porirua res­i­dents within two years.

Or­gan­i­sa­tions as var­ied as the coun­cil, po­lice, iwi, Hous­ing New Zealand, the district health board, and a slew of gov­ern­ment min­istries will form an ad­vi­sory group with that goal in mind.

They will act as a di­rect line of com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween agen­cies on the ground and the Gov­ern­ment.

‘‘ It is an in­cred­i­ble op­por­tu­nity for Porirua,’’ Mr Ryall told a crowd of 100 at the launch last Thurs­day. ‘‘Thank you for be­ing here at the be­gin­ning of the most ex­cit­ing jour­ney that many of you will have.’’

Agen­cies should speak up if they wanted a po­lice of­fi­cer as­signed to a cer­tain area, or if they thought Min­istry of So­cial Devel­op­ment re­sources should be redi­rected, Mr Ryall said.

‘‘Be brave, be coura­geous, and ac­tu­ally be a nui­sance.

‘‘The Gov­ern­ment will back you to make the de­ci­sions to change things.’’

Porirua is the lat­est city to join the Gov­ern­ment’s ‘‘ so­cial sec­tor tri­als’’, which started in 2009 as a way to re­duce youth crime in six needy towns around the coun­try.

The idea was to avoid a sit­u­a­tion where five cars from five so­cial agen­cies would be parked in one fam­ily’s drive­way, Mr Ryall said.

In Kaw­erau, one man was given re­spon­si­bil­ity for dis­tribut­ing all gov­ern­ment funds for var­i­ous so­cial agen­cies.

He dis­cov­ered 62 chil­dren, com­pletely un­known to any agency, who were not reg­is­tered at any school or doc­tor’s of­fice, Mr Ryall said.

Those chil­dren were put into school or train­ing and youth crime plum­meted 60 per cent, he said.

Sim­i­larly, in Te Kuiti a fifth of chil­dren were chron­i­cally tru­ant from school be­fore its so­cial sec­tor trial be­gan – that num­ber was now zero. A kuia pa­trolling the streets gave tru­ants an ear­ful, Mr Ryall said.

Again, Te Kuiti’s youth crime plunged.

‘‘ Since July last year, the youth court hasn’t had to sit. There are no 17 or 18-year-olds on pro­ba­tion’s books,’’ Mr Ryall said.

‘‘This ap­proach works and it pro­duces results.’’

Ranei Wi­neera- Parai, from Com­pass Health, will project man­age Porirua’s trial.

She said hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions could be re­duced with sim­ple ideas like pro­mot­ing teeth­brush­ing – den­tal prob­lems caused the ma­jor­ity of hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions for Porirua un­der­10s.

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