March 04, 2013
Government targets missing Māori mark
Nurses says Māori and other low income communities are losing primary health services because of Government demands that district health boards save money.
Rosemary Minto, the chair of the New Zealand College of Primary Health Care Nurses, says Capital and Coast DHB documents shows that boards cut a third off its primary health budget without analysing the effect on health equity.
That is being repeated across the country, as boards cut services providing community-based health care to refugees, people experiencing mental illness, and high Māori and Pacific populations.
She says a lot of the funding DHB's get goes to meet ministerial targets which often don't make the best use of the health dollar.
“It's all very well to want to improve access to elective surgery but if you can’t get to the GP to diagnose the problem in the first place, it’s not going to help Māori and Pacific people having shorter stays in the emergency department. If we had a reasonable primary health care system that was allowing people to see their doctor or nurse, we wouldn’t need to worry about the emergency department because they wouldn’t be overrun by people who can’t afford to go to the doctor,” she says.
Rosemary Minto says the 2013 New Zealand Health Survey shows that during the past year almost half of Māori women reported unmet primary health care needs.
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