David Clark | Issue 25

David Clark | Issue 25

Health Cuts

Healthcare in New Zealand has been underfunded to the tune of $1.7 billion in recent years, according to independent economics advisory firm, Infometrics. 

If you are studying health sciences, you may be directly affected by changes in our health system. The lack of funding and the loss of accreditation for training in intensive care and orthopaedics mean students interested in these specialties at Otago are having to look elsewhere. It is high time the government stepped up and addressed the serious health challenges we have down this end of the country.

Even if you’re not studying health sciences, you’ll probably agree that people in the South deserve decent healthcare just as much as everyone else. Yet our DHB is struggling more than most. It has tired buildings and funding that doesn’t match what is received elsewhere in the country. 

Our healthcare workforce works harder and for less than other DHBs around New Zealand. They can’t afford to do anything else. The Southern DHB ends up with less funding per person than almost any other in New Zealand, once funding transfers are counted.

Across the spectrum, politicians agree that it is Dunedin’s turn for a hospital rebuild. Creating the health facilities our community should expect will also mean a $300 million construction project for Dunedin city.

Like his predecessor, the current health minister is making slow progress on a rebuild. He took a long time to make the decision to sack the previous DHB board and replace it with his own commissioner. In September, he finally appointed the group tasked with overseeing business case development for the rebuild — several months later than expected.

Dunedin South MP Clare Curran and I are hosting Labour’s health spokesperson Hon Annette King for a public meeting on health cuts and the New Zealand health system on Monday 28 September. It will take place at 12 noon in the Knox Church halls on George Street. Annette will speak from her past experience as health minister and answer questions.

Dunedin needs a modern hospital, just like every other major city in the country. We need our funding reviewed so that students’ training is secured, and our healthcare can be properly funded. If you’ve visited a hospital, I hope you will consider attending the forum with Annette.

This article first appeared in Issue 25, 2015.
Posted 2:00pm Sunday 27th September 2015 by David Clark.