In­ter­na­tion­als’ health a worry

The Invercargill Eye - - FRONT PAGE - JOANNA GRIF­FITHS

Nurs­ing stu­dents are con­cerned in­ter­na­tional stu­dents are getting left be­hind in South­land health care sys­tem.

The South­ern In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy first year nurs­ing stu­dents high­lighted the is­sue at the An­nual Health Expo at Hansen Hall on Thurs­day.

Stu­dent Rh­yarna Batch­e­lor said most of the in­ter­na­tional stu­dents she had spo­ken to didn’t know what to do if they were sick.

‘‘One man said that if he had chest pains he would stay home, this is con­cern­ing.’’

Other stu­dents had said they didn’t know they could get cold and flu med­i­ca­tion or ba­sic pain killers such as parac­eta­mol from the su­per­mar­ket or chemist with­out see­ing a doc­tor.

This meant there were stu­dents who would qui­etly suf­fer with their af­flic­tions be­cause they were con­cerned about the cost of vis­it­ing the doc­tor.

Stu­dent Sacha Mol­loy said most in­ter­na­tional stu­dents didn’t know what ser­vices were avail­able to them. ’’It is com­pli­cated and de­pends on peo­ples visas and coun­tries of ori­gin.’’

Peo­ple vis­it­ing from over­seas of­ten can not sign up to a Gen­eral Prac­tice, but they could book ca­sual ap­point­ments or visit after hour doc­tors, the South­ern In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy reg­is­tered nurse and in an ac­ci­dent they could be cov­ered by ACC.

Fel­low nurs­ing stu­dent Jac­qui An­der­son said health­care was ex­pen­sive for over­seas vis­i­tors.

They could pay $455 to visit ED with a short stay of less than 24 hours cost­ing $1150 and an the am­bu­lance ser­vice cost­ing about $800. ’’We don’t want the cost to pre­vent the cor­rect care. We are try­ing to en­cour­age them to, in an emer­gency, use the ser­vices avail­able and call an am­bu­lance even though they will have to pay.’’

South­land busi­nesses and or­gan­i­sa­tions, in­clud­ing The South­ern In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy was push­ing to re­cruit more peo­ple from over­seas, she said.

‘‘We have asked them to move, it is our re­spon­si­bil­ity to look after them.’’

Wel­lSouth chief ex­ec­u­tive Ian Macara said peo­ple needed be re­spon­si­ble and re­search how to get and where to go for health­care be­fore ar­riv­ing in New Zealand.

He was con­cerned peo­ple go­ing to the emer­gency de­part­ment for the wrong things. ’’Ideally peo­ple shouldn’t be go­ing to ED if they can go to a gen­eral prac­ti­sioner.’’

It was ev­ery­ones re­spon­si­bil­ity to make sure in­for­ma­tion about health­care was read­ily avail­able.

In­ter­na­tional stu­dent He­len Zhang, from China, learns about health ser­vices from SIT nurs­ing stu­dent Sacha Mol­loy

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