Monday, July 03, 2017

National's failure on rheumatic fever

Five years ago, National set itself a target as part of its "Better Public Services" targets to reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever by two-thirds. They failed. And the reason is that they're coming up against the limits set by their poor social policies:

The number of people dropping out of a rheumatic fever treatment programme raises further concerns about the Government's high-profile goal of stamping out the disease, the Green Party says.


Counties Manukau DHB has one of highest rate of rheumatic fever cases. New figures released under the Official Information Act show that 58 of the 628 patients added to a rheumatic fever register in Counties Manukau in the past two years had fallen off their treatment plan.

The DHB said the main reasons for disengaging with their treatment were transience. Patients' contact details were not known or they had left the region.

Transience means "people not having a stable place to live". And its caused by low wages, high rents, and not enough state housing. The upshot is that reducing our appalling rate of rheumatic fever - a third world disease of poverty - means reducing those wider problems of poverty. But that's not really what National is interested in: they want to sell state houses (to Aussie gulag operators), not build more. But until they do, they're going to continue to fail to meet their target.

Which means they'll probably try and quietly drop it. They've already halved funding and targetted it more tightly, in an obvious effort to make the stats look good. Which also shows the real problem behind their "Better Public Services" targets: they're primarily a PR exercise, designed to enable the government to declare success and go home, rather than necessarily solve the underlying problems. And that's not better government - its just the same old stat-juking bullshit we've come to expect from National.