Taiwan a Covid-19 wake-up call for New Zealand

When the coronavirus pandemic hit Planet Earth in early 2020 it was confronted with two main opposing strategic responses to community transmission. One was elimination which was followed by parts of Asia including China, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Taiwan while the second was mitigation (suppression was a stronger version) which was much of the restContinue reading “Taiwan a Covid-19 wake-up call for New Zealand”

A fleeting health system consensus

Last week I published in the Victorian University hosted Democracy Project the second part of a two-article series of the escalating clash between the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) in the context of the recovery response to the earthquake devastation of 2010-11 https://democracyproject.nz/2021/05/19/ian-powell-a-very-bureaucratic-coup-part-two/. This was largely a leadership culture clashContinue reading “A fleeting health system consensus”

Early health system initiatives: Elk City, Saskatchewan and Kurow

Last year I read a fascinating article published by the monthly Le Monde Diplomatique on early health system initiatives in the United States’ Elk City and Canada’s Saskatchewan province  https://mondediplo.com/2020/08/02populism-expertise. This got me to thinking about the small rural town of Kurow and its role in the establishment of New Zealand’s universal public health systemContinue reading “Early health system initiatives: Elk City, Saskatchewan and Kurow”

Improving income support critical for improving health system

Minister of Health Andrew Little claimed that his recently announced health restructuring was bold. But it was only bold in the sense that whiteboard warriors are bold. Sitting behind this embellished claim is the unacknowledged view that structural change drives health system improvement. This conflicts with long experience that first, it doesn’t and second, sustainedContinue reading “Improving income support critical for improving health system”

New branch of specialist medicine poses challenge and opportunity for New Zealand’s health system

General practice ownership in New Zealand has been incrementally challenged for some years. It is a chal­lenge can’t be ignored and won’t go away. General practice is central to the delivery of primary care as a vital part of a wider, universal public health system that seeks to ensure access for all New Zealanders toContinue reading “New branch of specialist medicine poses challenge and opportunity for New Zealand’s health system”

Pay freezes, health systems and medical specialists

What has a pay freeze got to do with a universal public health system? Actually quite a lot. Health systems, especially public hospitals which handle the more complex and urgent cases that the rest of the system can’t fix, are by their very nature labour intensive. Overwhelmingly delayed or denied access to public hospitals areContinue reading “Pay freezes, health systems and medical specialists”

New Zealand complicit in Big Pharma control of vaccination costs

Blogger Martyn (Bomber) Bradbury has brilliantly coined the term ‘neo-kindness’ to describe the government of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Ardern has astutely popularised kindness as a critical part of New Zealand’s impressive response to both the Christchurch mosque terrorist murders and the elimination strategy for combatting Covid-19 community transmission. But there is another side toContinue reading “New Zealand complicit in Big Pharma control of vaccination costs”

Pharmac ‘s welcome transparency highlights need for real bold Government action

The Pharmaceutical Management Agency (known as Pharmac) is a crown entity that decides, on behalf of New Zealand’s district health boards (DHBs), which medicines and pharmaceutical products are subsidised for use in the community and public hospitals (I use the words ‘medicines’ and ‘drugs’ interchangeably below). DHBs are currently responsible for the provision of communityContinue reading “Pharmac ‘s welcome transparency highlights need for real bold Government action”

It’s just not cricket (nor Olympian for that matter)

I’m what’s known as a cricket nut (or cricket tragic as some cruelly say). I played cricket for well over 40 years at school and in Wellington, Christchurch and Kapiti Coast. I even reached the heady heights of best bowler for my Kapiti President’s grade team for three successive years and got my only hattrickContinue reading “It’s just not cricket (nor Olympian for that matter)”

How a leadership culture conflict escalated in New Zealand’s public health system

Earlier this month the Democracy Project hosted by Victoria University published my first article of a two-part series on a very bureaucratic coup against the chief executive and the rest of his senior management team at Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB). It covered a very dark period in New Zealand’s public health system from theContinue reading “How a leadership culture conflict escalated in New Zealand’s public health system”