Bags a drag on spines? I don’t think so..

February 2, 2008

A school bag slung over one shoulder may help students perfect a cool look, but the effect on the spine… read More

I very much doubt that a school backpack carried for asymmetrically for a few minutes a day could do any real back injury. I may cause some muscle fatigue which is often the cause of a “bad back” rather than any spinal damage and even then there are many causes of sore backs, lack of regular exercise being the most common.

It looks like competition for patients amongst Australian health professionals is hotting up.


Health consequences of our long economic snooze

October 20, 2007

Here is the consequence of NZ snoring through the last 17 years:

Latest new Australian senior doctor settlement. 19 October 2007 11:34am | Association of Salaried Medical Specialists. “New Zealand health bosses must wake up to threat of latest massive australian senior doctor settlement” More >>

As a nation we are finding it harder to keep our senior professionals especially highly trained specialist doctors. This “we train them and the world reaps the benefits” attitude cannot go on.

What can we do – keep contracting out our health services to Aussie like we do for Positron Emmission Tomography and severe anorexic care, and pay for them to employ our doctors and build their infrastructure?

ADHB Members 2007-2010

October 16, 2007

The current C&R Health Board members are:

Ian Ward            Mobile: 021 500 665 Email:
Brian Fergus      Mobile: 021 111 4684 Email:

Congratualations to Ian and Brian. With their skills and experience I am sure they will make a difference!

Mr Hodgson Replies

October 5, 2007

Now who said I wasn’t fair and balanced. Here if the Minister of Health’s reply to the last post. Now theoretically I can see the point that DHBNZ as an umbrella organisation could reduce bureaucracy, but it hasn’t really kicked in yet. I stand by my statement that it does not seem very democratic to have undemocratic organisation standing between two democratic ones. Another fact remains that the ADHB is very concerned about the effect of the nurse wage settlement and this concern is falling on deaf ears.

Anyway, while the politicians are arguing I wonder how many dogs and cats have had positron emission tomograpy in the comfort of their own country (USA) while our human cancer patients have to go to Aussie for the priveledge.

Hon Pete Hodgson

Minister of Health

5 October, 2007

National’s desperation grows

Various statements from the National Party and their allies today show their growing desperation, Health Minister Pete Hodgson said.

Wayne Mapp, Heather Roy and Tony Ryall have today all put out various statements that conveniently leave out crucial information, Pete Hodgson said.

“As minister I am required to deal in facts and the fact is none of the statements put out today are anything more than a hapless attempt to divert attention from failed discussion document launches.”

So let’s take a look at some basic facts:

Heather Roy has missed the point of DHBNZ entirely, Pete Hodgson said.

“Having one organisation working on behalf of almost all DHBs actually reduces the amount of bureaucracy,” Pete Hodgson said.

“Similarly Mr Mapp’s press release about North Shore Hospital conveniently leaves out the fact that Waitemata DHB has stated there was no intention to close the emergency centre on the weekend,”

Pete Hodgson said.

Mr Mapp has asked where the fix is.

“Well Mr Mapp the fix is having affordable primary health care that every New Zealander can access in order to help them maintain their health.”

“Clearly the National Party’s policy would allow GP fees to increase and that would simply send more people through the doors of already busy A and E departments.”

Meanwhile Tony Ryall has been telling half truths about cancer waiting times.

Cancer treatment wait times are prioritised to ensure that those with the most urgent needs are treated within four weeks and we know in June this year (the last month for which data is available) 100 percent of patients in the most urgent category received it within the four week timeframe.


Voters urged to support careful management at the ADHB.

October 5, 2007

Press Release: Citizens and Ratepayers Auckland District Health Board Team ( have been reminded that, in this financial year, the Auckland District Health Board has treated more patients than in the previous year while coming in well ahead of budget.

” People in the Auckland region have been the beneficiaries of a huge collective effort by management, clinical and nursing staff and support people at the Auckland District Health Board over the past year, says Board Chairman Wayne Brown”

Kevin Hicks, a Mt Roskill cancer researcher and Citizens and Ratepayers candidate for the current ADHB elections thinks this news could not be better. “After many years of difficulty there seems to be a new spirit of cooperation across the board. Since the vast majority of candidates standing are new”, says Kevin, “it is now very important to vote for a unified team that will continue this spirit of cooperation and financial responsibility.”

“We are the voice of the community and the message we are getting loud and clear is that the community wants careful use of resources to ensure that the people who need help the most get it. Voters are also very concerned about openness and honesty from our elected officials.”

Kevin says the C&R team is well placed to continue with responsible leadership with a team that includes experienced directors and managers. “Ian Ward for example was a senior manager at the ADHB for many years and has a very deep understanding of the issues it faces. We also have strong ties to the education (Belinda Kusabs), research (Kevin), management (Brian Fergus) and ethnic communities (Ram Rai).”

One of the issues faced by the ADHB is the increased cost of the nurses wage settlement. “Personally I think this settlement will help to deal with aspects of recruitment and retention”

he says, “but at the board meeting I attended yesterday the Manager, Garry Smith, was having trouble getting government representatives to acknowledge that the increased costs will severely effect the ADHB’s functions.”

Kevin, a cancer researcher was also hoping that the improved financial situation may speed up the development of PET (positron emission tomography) for cancer patients in New Zealand. “It appears that the decision to shelve PET was made by a loose grouping of the country’s ADHB’s” says Kevin. “This doesn’t sound like a central or local democratic decision to me”. The ADHB meeting yesterday put the PET issue back on the agenda for the December meeting.

“Don’t be cynical” says Kevin. “By voting carefully your vote can make a difference and give the community a strong unified voice on the ADHB”. Voting forms must be received by Council offices by 12 noon on Saturday 13th October. You can phone 09-379-2023 if you have lost your voting forms.



October 5, 2007

The question of interpreters for patients came up at the ADHB meeting yesterday. There is government funding for interpreters in hospitals and now it looks like the system will be extended to all GP practices as well. Wayne Brown, the outgoing chairman of the ADHB made a very important comment that the costs of this could blow out very easily. He suggested that it should be limited to telly or video calls using free software and the contracts should be let offshore if cost effective contracts cannot be negotiated here.

I would have to say I agree 100% with this. An alternaitve would be to try to argue to central government that this would be best handled through charities who support patients.

There was a very good presentation from staff at the school of population health on immigrant health issues. There are over 200 ethnicities now represented in the ADHB region. If we insisted on employing an interpreter for each language I can see a situation developing rapidly where, if no one could fill the vacancy for a small ethnic group we would have to recruit someone from overseas and get them to immigate here!

I would be interested in others thoughts and I will follow this situation closely if elected (and probably if I’m not!)

Health Dollars Blown On Bureaucracy

October 5, 2007

DHBNZ has voted to oppose Auckland getting  Positron Emission tomograpy (PET) for cancer patients. PET is used widely overseas including in Australia and is even used in the US for family pets.

DHBNZ was not formed directly by government or by a single DHB and so I have serious issues with its appearing to sit outside the democratic system. It is also costing each health board a heap of money! 

Here’s what Heather Roy has to say:

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today questioned what value there was in being a member of District Health Boards New Zealand, given that this membership is costing DHBs around the country tens of thousands of dollars each year.

“These figures – the first released by DHB NZ since it became subject to the Official Information Act – show that being signed up to DHBNZ cost the country’s DHBs a total of $723,040 in the

2006/07 financial year alone,” Mrs Roy said.

“Broken down, this was tens of thousands of dollars paid by each individual DHB for that year – with Canterbury, Waitemata and Counties-Manukau DHBs each paying an astounding $89,280, $86,560 and $80,320 respectively.

“Given that $723,040 could fund a large number of surgical procedures

– approximately 25 Coronary Bypasses, 47 Hip Replacements operations, or 241 cataract operations – this information raises serious questions about the sort of value there is to be gained in our DHBs being signed up to this national body.

“The question of value is even more pertinent in light of the fact that Auckland withdrew from the national body more than two years ago, and Canterbury DHB voted to follow suit in July

13 of this year – with Chair Syd Bradley having been reported in the media as believing that CDHB was not getting value for money and criticising DHBNZ as a ‘flawed and unaccountable’ entity.

“These comments, combined with the amount of Health dollars being poured into DHBNZ membership – enough money to provide grommets for a massive 628 children – are extremely worrying.

“Precious Health dollars should be spent on alleviating the pain and suffering of those waiting far too long on hospital waiting lists not on the extra layer of pointless and ineffectual bureaucracy that DHBNZ represents,” Mrs Roy said.