“IF YOU DON’T TAKE THE TEMPERATURE YOU CAN’T FIND A FEVER”

Heather Roy and I are an ‘odd couple’. Her intellectual roots are on the libertarian right and mine are on the collectivist left. She was ACT’s health spokesperson in Parliament until 2011 (for a time its deputy leader) and I was a health union leader (Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists). However,Continue reading ““IF YOU DON’T TAKE THE TEMPERATURE YOU CAN’T FIND A FEVER””

So much stuffed up by so few: reflecting on 2022

One of former British prime minister Winston Churchill’s best-known quotes came to mind as I reflected on the past year: “Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.” He was paying tribute to the enormous efforts made by the fighter pilots and bomber crews toContinue reading “So much stuffed up by so few: reflecting on 2022”

When an academic gets it badly wrong over health crisis

As a history student at Canterbury University I did a paper on EP Thompson’s classic social history The Making of the English Working Class. First published in 1963 (I read a 1972 reprint) I was enthralled by it. Reinforced by extensive empirical data, this was largely due to how it sharpened my understanding  of ‘class’,Continue reading “When an academic gets it badly wrong over health crisis”

Planned care taskforce report: something to weep over?

On 25 October Te Whatu Ora (Health New Zealand) released the report of its taskforce established to devise a plan to clear a backlog of patients waiting months longer than they should for treatment. Establishing the taskforce was in response to both continual media exposure of tens of thousands of people waiting too long forContinue reading “Planned care taskforce report: something to weep over?”

Middlemore Hospital emergency department crisis much wider than ED and Middlemore

The public have much to be grateful for the quality health reporting which, more often than not, is provided by mainstream media. Largely shaped by the assessments of those doctors, nurses and other health professionals working at the clinical frontline, these journalists are successively revealing the true state of Aotearoa New Zealand’s health system, wartsContinue reading “Middlemore Hospital emergency department crisis much wider than ED and Middlemore”

When lies get caught out by health system truths

The National government’s misnamed health reforms of the 1990s were based on the simplistic experimental premise that the health system would function much better if it were required to function in a ‘free’ competitive market. This new system (1993-99) included public hospitals not only competing against private hospitals but also against each other. It provedContinue reading “When lies get caught out by health system truths”

Professor Baker is right; New Zealand needs pandemic political leadership

I’m not a Twitter fan. Instead I’m a reluctant user. However, I can only admire the precision of NZ Herald investigative journalist Matt Nippert who, on 12 October, tweeted the  following: The lockdowns were the first to go; then the scanning; then MIQ; masks; and even boosters. Soon, the only thing remaining from that timeContinue reading “Professor Baker is right; New Zealand needs pandemic political leadership”

The New Zealand Health Charter – worthy or satirical?

What should we make of a document that is “worthy”? Worthy means having adequate or great merit, character or value. In the context of a document, it may mean deserving of praise. However, in the context of the health system, particularly one in which business consultants have been influential in its design, another word comesContinue reading “The New Zealand Health Charter – worthy or satirical?”

New Zealand’s ‘national disgrace’: ‘one of the worst places to bring up a child’

David McCormack is a cardiothoracic surgeon employed at Waikato Hospital by Te Whatu Ora (Health New Zealand). He is also an Associate Chief Medical Officer and an Honorary Associate Professor of Surgery. Surgical precision He knows his clinical stuff. But he knows much more: He is socially aware, insightful and has a compassionate heart. ThisContinue reading “New Zealand’s ‘national disgrace’: ‘one of the worst places to bring up a child’”

What drives improved health outcomes?

What is the biggest potential driver of improved health outcomes? Is it our public hospitals? Is it what happens in primary care which, in Aotearoa New Zealand, is largely provided by general practitioners? Or is it something else? There are also some who believe that health restructuring improves health outcomes while forgetting that function andContinue reading “What drives improved health outcomes?”