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Thread: Mixed report on NZ health system

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    MotherBear's Avatar
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    Default Mixed report on NZ health system

    Mixed report for NZ health system
    3.00pm Wednesday November 15, 2006

    A new report into the health systems of several developed countries shows New Zealand's system is performing well in some areas, but poorly in others.

    Health Minister Pete Hodgson today released research from the New York-based Commonwealth Fund looking at a range of health indicators in nine developed countries. Most of the data was from 2004. He said the research showed New Zealand was performing well in key measures. They include:

    * 90 per cent of general practices having after-hours care arrangements -- second only to the Netherlands

    * New Zealand GPs having the second-highest rate of electronic patient record use

    * New Zealand practices reported the highest usage of electronic lab results and hospital records

    * New Zealand's five-year breast cancer survival rate was better than average and higher than Australia or Japan, but Australia's data was from 1992

    However, the research also shows New Zealanders also had the lowest number of visits to the doctor a year -- 3.2, compared with an OECD median of 6.1 -- and the third-lowest rate of practising doctors.

    New Zealand had the lowest healthcare spending per capita per year at $2083 -- about a third of the US -- and the lowest spending on pharmaceuticals, at $174 a year per person.

    New Zealand also had the second-highest potential years of life lost to diabetes, at 72 years per 100,000 people. Only the US was worse. Its influenza immunisation rates for over 65-year-olds rated third worst.

    Mr Hodgson said the research showed there was still some work to do, but the Government's primary healthcare strategy was addressing those areas. He said the rollout of universal subsidies for GP visits would help. It was planned to be completed by July 1 next year.

    The research compared New Zealand, Australia, the US, Japan, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Canada and Britain.

    - NZPA
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    Default Re: Mixed report on NZ health system

    Actually, I thought less visits to the GP is indicative of a healthier population that most. We have certainly been healthier here - only two visits in 18 months for our family of five.

    Also, the smaller population we have here means infectious illnesses do not spread so widely ... probably why some over 65's don't bother with the influenza jab.

    Of course, the cost of seeing a GP could put people off, especially in cases where the symptoms can be ignored as they do not necessarily hurt ... like unusual moles for example.

    There was a bit in the news recently that says that the Maori population are genetically more susceptible to diabetes - a point that would increase figures. Still, a health programme to encourage people to visit their GP once a year to check for diabetes and skin cancer would, I am sure, be funds well spent and lives saved.
    Glenda
    In NZ since June 2005
    Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness - Chinese proverb

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    selchie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mixed report on NZ health system

    There was a bit in the news recently that says that the Maori population are genetically more susceptible to diabetes - a point that would increase figures.
    Interesting, it's the same for the native peoples of America. I wonder how many non-Eureopean people have a similar problem with diabetes. Is there a lesser tolerance for sugar among some groups? Problems with processed foods? Cogs in the brain are whirring, that's all....
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    Default Re: Mixed report on NZ health system

    There was a bit in the news recently that says that the Maori population are genetically more susceptible to diabetes - a point that would increase figures. ? ?
    Interesting, it's the same for the native peoples of America. I wonder how many non-Eureopean people have a similar problem with diabetes. Is there a lesser tolerance for sugar among some groups? Problems with processed foods? Cogs in the brain are whirring, that's all....
    This is the news article I read. ?It does mention American natives. ? :(

    The grim reality behind diabetes
    15 November 2006 ?

    By now few New Zealanders can be unaware of the dangers posed by type-2 diabetes, a rampant disease linked to poor diet and obesity and which threatens to overwhelm the health service if it is not brought under control said the Nelson Mail in an editorial on Wednesday.

    There has been sufficient publicity for it also to be widely known that it poses special risks for Maori and Polynesian people, who make up a disproportionately high percentage of New Zealand's 125,000 diagonosed diabetics. But yesterday the alarm was taken to a new level with the claim by an Australian academic that the Maori and Polynesian races could be extinct before the end of the century if the escalating diabetes rate goes unchecked.

    Professor Paul Zimmet of Monash University says that the wiping out of indigenous communities is a "very real reality" in prospect for the Maori and Pacific Island populations, Australia's Aborigines and the native people of the United States and Canada. In other words, where the Western lifestyle and diet has taken firmest hold, the indigenous populations are at greatest risk.

    That the professor has used shock tactics does not mean that his message should be discounted. Extinction is of course at the extreme end of the spectrum and cannot be seen as a serious prospect in this country. While it is true that more teenagers and children are developing type-2 diabetes, formerly a disease that was more commonly seen in middle age, it is also true that more and more attention is being given to spreading the healthy lifestyle message.

    It is inconceivable that an entire ethnic group or an entire generation will ignore it, and a moment's reflection will bring to mind many exemplary Maori and Polynesian people, especially among the sports community. At the top level these New Zealanders are schooled in good nutrition and are expert in achieving and maintaining physical fitness. They are also highly respected role models, emulated by children of all ethnicities. They counterbalance the obese, unfit fast-food-eaters on the other end of the scale and make nonsense of the extinction claim.

    Even so, the over-representation of Maori and Pacific Islanders in the diabetes statistics does mean that special attention is warranted. While it shouldn't be forgotten that the majority of diabetes sufferers are Caucasian and that this segment of the population also needs to hear and heed the healthy lifestyle message, the focus on Maori and Polynesian people shouldn't be an occasion to claim racial bias.

    With type-2 diabetes accounting for 20 percent of Maori deaths compared to 4 percent of non-Polynesian New Zealanders, the statistics have their own powerful voice and demand action not only for the benefit of Maori and Islanders but for the greater good.

    Among the many reasons to keep pushing the benefits of a better diet and more exercise is that health services will not cope with a steadily rising level of diabetics needing dialysis and organ transplants.

    If diabetes is not contained, the healthy won't be able to cover the healthcare needs of the sick, raising the spectre of services collapsing because of a disease that is largely preventable. So it makes sense for Professor Zimmet to get the word out and for it to be heard not only at an individual or family level but also by the entire community. It is easy to knock efforts to halt the obesity epidemic. The surge in type-2 diabetes shows why the campaigns are necessary.


    :(

    My mum has late onset diabetes, her brother had it too before he died (Europeans btw). ?Guess there is a chance I will be similarly affected one day. ? ?
    Glenda
    In NZ since June 2005
    Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness - Chinese proverb

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