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Improving doctor and nurse morale in Wellington

  • November 2nd, 2008

Wellington medical friends have told me of their work frustration.  Now I’ve had earfuls of chapter and verse from three months of door-knocking.  

The Labour candidate has been fond of telling Wellington Central meetings about Labour’s impact on GP fees. Unmentioned is a consequence – worried people in our region who simply can’t find a GP who’ll enrol them. Anecdotally they’re in the thousands.

Discovering the true state of health care has been a revelation for me. The background work by Tony Ryall and his team on health policy has made it an area in which I’ve been most proud to represent National. We do not promise revolution. We’ll make Health much better in the next few years, not by magic bullets, but simply by having people who know productive management as well as they know political management. National MPs have employed out of their own pockets. They know that good businesses and organisations come from letting your good employees do lots of little things better.

So I’m optimistic.

The Labour system exploits the dedication of clinical staff to keep going. It continues because others don’t want to know or believe the rundown of care in our first world capital city. Clinicians (and I) are baffled by the way Labour has not been gored despite official report after report showing disastrous political mismanagement.

 Health is unique but from having led my law firm I know a little about some professional workplaces.  
I’m struck by the helplessness and cynicism of frustrated doctors and nurses. They feel subordinate to non-medical management. It’s unique.
For other professions ‘managerialism’ was a 1990s phase, when we were told to leave management to career managers. Now other professionals are back in control of their own practices, or work for colleagues they respect professionally.
Over-riding clinicians is not necessarily the ‘fault’ of health managers. The system was designed by politicians good at politics but with little other experience. They’re mistrustful. They demand a finger in every pie and an eye on every activity. Letting others decide is alien to them.
So we’ve had persistent failures in health, despite spending increases. Money is important but spirit and freedom to use initiative are equally vital.
National’s changes will respect  the professionals actually treating sick people.
But outsiders are ineffective. True improvement will need intelligent pressure from within government. I’ll offer that as MP for Wellington Central. I do not make promises lightly. In my six years in Parliament I tried never to criticise unless I could see a solution.
I’m determined to be a champion for clinicians, and for Wellington. Patients will be the beneficiaries.


  • Krishnan
  • November 2nd, 2008
  • 9:38 am

As a doctor I am glad that you understand the frustration. There are 3000 people in the Hutt Valley alone who cannot get a GP. No doctor is taking on new patients. If you move to the Hutt you cannot get a doctor.

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  • Anna
  • November 3rd, 2008
  • 1:14 pm

Finally some attention where it is actually needed! Thank you Stephen for listening and finally working for the people and the medical professionals

  • Caroline
  • November 3rd, 2008
  • 1:39 pm

I heard you at Kelburn last night when you said that there were 3000 people in the Hutt Valley unable to get a GP. Your Labour opponent did not know this or more likely would not admit it. We need you to represent us in Parliament. You also handled the persistent anti-gay smears with aplomb.
Take a bow.

  • mike mckee
  • November 5th, 2008
  • 1:27 pm

I wish you luck.
How National is going to hand over control of our hospitals from the money managers and career administrators to the clinicians I don’t know.

I’m for using private to destroy the waiting lists and not bump anyone off of the list so reality faces you square in the face.
maybe having a hip month in wellington or hamilton will help make a dent.

Will you stop Pharmac’s lies about cancer treatments?
i don’t think so as they are so entrenched.
the clinicians I speak to don’t mind if the reason not to use heceptin is about money as long as they don’t lie.
but to dress it up as science and peer reveiwed trials is bullshit or the worst order.

What that says for the doctors and other so called professionals at the health ministry and pharmac who keep quiet is not good for us getting health on the go again.

Then the fact that it takes 10yrs for someone to start medicine and get to the end of specialisation.
then another 3-5 yrs to get good at it and another 3-5 to be well practised.

How many GP’s do we need countrywide?
at present we have 27-29 radiation oncologists and need another 8.
they are not forthcoming from all the world.
we struggle and recruit and then the medical council makes it harder.

These people work bloddy hard and study for a decade and finally when they start earning good money the lazy, idle and have-nots complain about the rich pricks through their second rate politicians and think its ok to take their dosh off of them and redistribute it to the middle class unwashed let alone those who haven’t made it past school cert.

and we wonder why we have a shortage of health professionals?

As I said good luck though I won’t hold my breath waiting.

  • mike mckee
  • November 5th, 2008
  • 1:40 pm

While we’re at it lets set up a an Independent Corruption Commission as parliament and the speaker are too complicit in their own needs to actually act properly and with moral order. (which sets an example to the rest of NZ)

The order of the day under this Labour party has been “if it isn’t illegal it’s ok and even then we can retrospectively change the law to suit”.

It’s no wonder many young people I talk to aren’t interested in voting as it “just brings the same bastads back for one and won’t make a difference as they’re all as bad as each other!”

I well remember when Jenny Shipley was parading Alamien Kopu around, using her proxy vote to prop up National and I thought, this just isn’t right or proper, this woman (Kopu) is in over her head, she shouldn’t be in parliament.
But no, Shipley didn’t give a shit and used and abused Kopu for her ends.

The parallels with Winston and Helen are so sad as will National be any different?
History says maybe not.

Helen Clark has been even worse and to be frank I am ashamed of many people I know who have voted for her again and again even knowing the facts as reported.
What’s a voter to do?


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