Thursday, May 27, 2010

Our third world health system

If you live in Wellington, don't get sick next month: Wellington hospital will be shutting down for a week because it has run out of money:

In an internal email sent to staff, DHB chief operating officer Shaun Drummond said a "planned reduction in activity" was scheduled for the week of June 21 and staff would be asked to take annual leave.

In a written statement to The Dominion Post, Mr Drummond said elective surgery and non-essential support services would be reduced, although no targets had been set for the week.

"The planned reduction in hospital activity will have little effect on patients but it will help us to better live within our means."

This is a direct consequence of government underfunding. There are sick people who need treatment, but the government will not fund that treatment, while it is also placing intense pressure on DHB's to conform to financial targets. And so we get third-world / California-style shutdowns.

This is not good enough. Thanks to National's cuts, our hospitals are no longer delivering even a basic service. Either the government must change this, or we will get one who does.