The president comments ...
Subject: Nurses (Practice)
Nurses (Political activity)
Author: Tunnicliff, Nano
Pub Date: 08/01/2010
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: August, 2010 Source Volume: 16 Source Issue: 7
Topic: Event Code: 200 Management dynamics; 290 Public affairs
Product: Product Code: 8043100 Nurses NAICS Code: 621399 Offices of All Other Miscellaneous Health Practitioners
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 236247971
Full Text: I have been reflecting recently on New Zealand's health care system and our fall from grace, in terms of health outcomes. So why is this happening? Didn't the Minister of Health, Tony Ryall, use "better, sooner, more convenient" as a way to describe the future of our health care system before the Last election? Yap he did, so what's happening? Let's imagine the best health care system money can buy--yes everything, for everyone and right now. Sounds amazing and T know nurses want to be part of that right now. So do I. Imagine it again--close your eyes and you are there. Utopia!

Open your eyes and now Look at the reality. Cuts, oops I mean changes, are being made to services, resources are getting even scarcer and everyone is too busy working as a "productive unit" to notice that there is another patient with a minor ailment waiting, just over six hours in the emergency department to be attended to. Why? Because the upfront cost of primary health care prevents them from being seen by their GP or practice nurse. Common sense tells us this is where some fundamental changes are required. How? Change the current general practice funding model and make everyone an employee, instead of allowing the health and well-being of New Zealanders to be held to ransom by private practice ideology.

Is "better, sooner, more convenient" just a catchy pre-election slogan? Or did we genuinely believe this actually might be possible?

New Zealand is a country that has been very good at producing reports and filing them neatly on shelves to gather dust. Over time, different governments have set up various working groups, committees and boards to Look at many different ways of doing things better and tasked them with reporting back. New Zealand has not shied away from implementing radical reform in the past, but does have a strange habit of sometimes tweaking too soon, before being able to fully assess the benefits of change. The solution I suggested in terms of the funding model is not my idea--it has been debated for a Long time but, politically, is not easy to implement.

Someone then mentioned that there might be some waste in the health system, so Let's pay another outside consultant to tell us how we can save a few dollars to ensure his/her invoice is paid at the end of the day--after all GST increases on October 1.

In the meantime the patient still waits. Too many bureaucrats and managers someone else cried, so let's turn working systems upside down because we need more resources at the frontline. Put the clinicians in charge, someone else yelled.

Hopefully, somewhere in the not too distant future everyone, including politicians, will come to their senses and realise nurses want as few barriers as possible in the health care system, so every New Zealander has equal access to safe, high quality care. Our job as nurses is to ensure those legislative and ideological barriers are broken down and New Zealand can, once more, claim the number one spot for health care outcomes. So Let's get chatting to those politicians.
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