The rising incidence of rheumatic fever has nothing to do with ‘families having a better understanding of the disease’ as the Health Minister wants us to believe but everything to do with his failure to address the root causes of it, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
“It’s time Jonathan Coleman admitted to the real causes of rheumatic fever.
Confirmation by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman that he is to wind up a water quality improvement scheme will leave thousands of Kiwis with no alternative but to continue boiling their drinking water, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
The Drinking Water Subsidy Scheme was established by Labour in 2005 to improve drinking water systems in communities with up to 5000 people. National revised the scheme in December 2010 - reducing both the criteria and funding pool, forcing ratepayers to pick up additional costs for water improvements – and will scrap it completely in July.
The Government should be looking at broader measures to combat obesity rather than re-hashing pre-announced initiatives, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
“While it is encouraging to see the Government finally waking from its slumber and restoring a focus on obesity let’s see some new ideas, such as reducing sugar in processed food. Manufacturers did it with salt, there’s no reason they can’t do the same with the sweet stuff.
The Government should look to ban zero-hour contracts in its own back yard before getting too high and mighty about other employers using them, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
“Information collated by Labour shows at least three district health boards – Hutt Valley, Nelson-Marlborough and Southern – had some 282 staff working or not, as the case may be, on unfair-zero hour contracts last year.
The financial impacts of implementing a proposal to outsource hospital food, forced on them by a crown-owned company which is now facing an auditor-general’s inquiry, are being felt by district health boards across the country, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
“Hawke’s Bay, Nelson, Tairawhiti, Southern and Waikato regions are all in line to have Compass Group take over provision of food services.
Research showing bowel cancer treatment sucks up more public health dollars than other cancers once again highlights the need for a national screening programme, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
A study by Otago University, which found colon cancer is the most costly cancer overall, also renews calls for a national bowel screening programme.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman’s decision to privatise Wellington’s laboratory services goes against the advice of those working at the front line – our clinicians and medical specialists, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
“Doctors have warned the Government many times that its plans to integrate the Capital’s hospital and diagnostic testing services has the potential to backfire and could result in delays in both diagnosis and treatment; and even put lives at risk.
The Government’s $65 million spend on rheumatic fever prevention has made little impact on the alarmingly high rate of the disease among young New Zealanders, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
“Latest figures from ESR show there were 235 notified cases of acute rheumatic fever in the year to September 2014, up 75 on the previous twelve months.