April 27, 2009

Who is 'man enough' to overhaul NZ's health system?

The healthcare industry in New Zealand is far from perfect. It’s a bit of a sore spot for lots of different groups – medical professionals who have to tolerate terrible working conditions, patients that have been on waiting lists forever and families that have lost loved ones due to very tragic oversights by staff. There is also a lot of issues around being short staffed – particularly nurses.

Many health workers are scared to speak up about issues in case they lose their job. I know of a pregnant nurse who asked her patient if they would mind if she sat down in their room (after checking them over) to eat her apple as if she didn’t do it there, she wouldn’t be able to at all (for some reason in this hospital they were working with no breaks – not so easy when pregnant, hungry, tired and on your feet all day). The patient of course said yes and sympathised.

There has long been controversy in the media about all the downfalls of our medical care. Many mistakes have been made with patients, there have been plenty of worker strikes (the little fellows are paid peanuts and receive no pay rise (“there is no money”), while hotshot top doctors get a gazillion percent pay rise (“how much would you like?”). Our healthcare has been under scrutiny for years, yet no boss, no newly elected board member nor the government has been able to overhaul it and fix any of its problems in all that time. Our waiting lists are out of control – people are living hellish existences waiting forever for surgery that keeps getting delayed (some 15 year old drunk and drugged up driver needed urgent surgery after he crashed and killed 5 others) there goes a weeks worth of other waiting list surgeries (maybe we should redefine ‘emergency’ and 'priority'?).

At our last election I wanted a guy whose son died as a result of severe medical neglect to be voted in – as I knew he would make a huge difference and shake it up. Sadly he didn’t get the seat. I am amazed and guttered that still no one has been able to seriously overhaul our health system. Our rest homes seem to be falling short of expectations too – there are many cases of neglect, short staffing and mistreatment within them.

I feel sorry for those workers that are stuck in the middle of these badly managed industries. They must feel helpless, trapped and just bloody frustrated. It seems there is a real vibe of old fashioned hierarchy within them also – not cool at all. But what can we do! **sigh** It seems all we can do is sit back and wait for a real change agent boss within these industries to grow a brain, wake up and start creating amazing workplaces, amazing service and incredible culture. It seems no amount of media coverage or new leadership within has been capable of doing that thus far. Where are all the dynamic (preferably non-blind) leaders hiding!?

No comments: