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Political parties endorsing the Health Charter

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Over the last month UCAN chair person Debbie Leyland has asked each political party if they would consider endorsing the UCAN Health Charter.

UCAN is happy to announce that the following parties have endorsed the charter and have also confirmed that they will work with UCAN and other networks to implant the charter.

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UCAN members look forward to meeting with these parties after the election to make the UCAN Health Charter a cornerstone in a health system we can all be proud of.

UCAN also would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the public endorsements of the NZNO – New Zealands Nurses Organization, The Equality Network, Porirua Union and Community Health Service, Hutt Union Health Service, Newtown Union Health Service, Department of Public Health at the School of Otago in Wellington, the Wellington branch of the Public Health Association and the College of Nurses Aotearoa NZ.

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UCAN is affiliated to no political party.

UCAN presentation to CCDHB

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On Wednesday 22nd August UCAN made the following presentation to the CCDHB Governance Board.


Good afternoon. I will speak to the item about the ‘Citizens’ Health Council’.

The UCAN network strongly supports the moves the Board is making to draw on the knowledge and concerns of the residents of the District.

We also know from experience that it is not easy to facilitate productive public discussion in this political environment.

As most Board members know we have contributed to the public discussion of Health by drafting a Health Charter.

The Charter has been endorsed by a majority of the members of this Board, a dozen well known organisations and three political parties.

We produced the Charter because the equity of primary health provision – I mean ‘primary health’ defined broadly – was being undermined in the Capital and Coast District.

We noticed that the changes in Capital and Coast planning and funding were favouring people with the money, knowledge and day to day capabilities to manage their access to health services.

We were particularly concerned as community and union health services suffered a series of cuts and restructurings that changed the nature of primary health care.

For example, the disappearance of integrated, locality-based models for primary health such as SECPHO.

We doubt that the efficiencies being driven by the national consortium of General Practices as ‘Health Care Home’ are designed for or by high needs populations.

Given these kinds of national strategies, we also note that the logic of your funding arrangements seems to encourage the Board to prioritise the needs of your predominantly low NZ Dep populations.

There are deprived populations in this District, perhaps not as geographically concentrated as in other Districts.

Our other principle concern is provision for group living and day time activity for people with enduring mental illness.

We regard the events that led to the closure of Mahora House has a scandal that has not been addressed properly. A year has past since the Board received the Mellsop report.

However we acknowledge and support preparatory work done by this Board to consider improvements across the system for people with mental illness.

We suggest that the two issues I’ve raised – primary health care for high needs populations and residential and day provision for people with mental illness – should be early items on the agenda of the Citizens’ Health Council.

We also suggest that you call for nominations to the Council so that those who cope with the situations I have described have an opportunity to influence and validate the selection process.

A nomination process would also increase the likelihood of forming a genuinely diverse and creative Council.

Thank you.


Objectives of DHBs

Every DHB has the following objectives:

(a) to improve, promote, and protect the health of people and communities:

(b) to promote the integration of health services, especially primary and secondary health services:

(ba) to seek the optimum arrangement for the most effective and efficient delivery of health services in order to meet local, regional, and national needs:

(c) to promote effective care or support for those in need of personal health services or disability support services:

(d) to promote the inclusion and participation in society and independence of people with disabilities:

(e) to reduce health disparities by improving health outcomes for Maori and other population groups:

(f) to reduce, with a view to eliminating, health outcome disparities between various population groups within New Zealand by developing and implementing, in consultation with the groups concerned, services and programmes designed to raise their health outcomes to those of other New Zealanders:

(g) to exhibit a sense of social responsibility by having regard to the interests of the people to whom it provides, or for whom it arranges the provision of, services:

(h) to foster community participation in health improvement, and in planning for the provision of services and for significant changes to the provision of services:

(i) to uphold the ethical and quality standards commonly expected of providers of services and of public sector organisations:

(j) to exhibit a sense of environmental responsibility by having regard to the environmental implications of its operations:

(k) to be a good employer in accordance with section 118 of the Crown Entities Act 2004.

 

From NZ Doctor: ” Homes, incomes, access to care raised in election challenge to all parties”

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Great reportage from Virginia McMillian, Journalist from NZ Doctor magazine:


Virginia McMillan vmcmillan@thehealthmedia.co.nz Tuesday 15 August 2017, 3:31PM

Patients’ experiences living on low pay and in cold, overcrowded houses are too common, Hutt Union Community Health Service chair and Living Wage New Zealand committee member Muriel Tunoho says.

Both the organisations that Ms Tunoho serves have endorsed a Health Charter (see illustration) that proposes liveable incomes and homes as rights for all. The charter was today handed over to Labour MP Grant Robertson outside Parliament.

 

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Health rights as described in the Health Charter, endorsed by a range of organisations including the NZNO and the Public Health Association

The charter, developed by the United Community Action Network, received the support of Mr Robertson and New Zealand First’s acting health spokesperson Ria Bond.

UCAN sees the charter as a founding document for health. Coordinator Debbie Leyland told the small gathering in the Parliament grounds it was a challenge by which to hold to account all MPs and political parties.
Ms Leyland says the typical waits of two months for mental healthcare (“if you’re lucky”) are not acceptable, and nor are the country’s high rates of suicide, homelessness and mental illness.

One tangible way to address poverty

Ms Tunoho says the living wage is one tangible way to address poverty. The point was underscored by Paul Barber, NZ Council of Christian Social Services’ policy advisor, who said benefits were too low and beneficiaries’ health suffered the most.

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UCAN’s Debbie Leyland, Tick for Kids’ Lisa Woods with baby Zach, Living Wage NZ’s Muriel Tunoho and Council of Christian Social Services’ Paul Barber 

“One of the best health treatments is to lift benefits and lift incomes for the lowest-income people. It’s the simplest treatment and it can be administered tomorrow if we want to,” Mr Barber said.

Instead, the Government was arrogantly paying down debt “with the anguish of the poor”.

Thirty-seven organisations belong to the Equality Network, which has endorsed the UCAN charter, he said.

More funded visits for children – NZ First

Ms Bond said her party wants to lift the funding for under-13s care to cover three visits a year, and to raise the age at least to 15.

Mr Robertson said equitable access to healthcare was a mark of a decent society.

Speaking for the Tick for Kids and the Child Poverty Action Group, Lisa Woods called on all political parties to ensure New Zealanders have the resources they need to thrive.

Child Poverty Action is a signatory to the charter, as are the Public Health Association, the public health department of the University of Otago, Wellington, the three Wellington union health clinics and the NZ Nurses Organisation, among others.

NZNO president Grant Brookes says the organisation welcomes the charter, “a refresh of the original primary healthcare vision”, and its focus on population health and eliminating disparities.

SOURCE

Health charter to be delivered to parliament.

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United Community Action Network (UCAN) press release

For immediate release

Monday 14 August at 7am

Health charter to be delivered to parliament

The United Community Action Network (UCAN) will deliver it’s health charter to parliament tomorrow, Tuesday 14 August at 1230pm on parliament grounds.

The College of Nurses, low-cost health providers, The Equality and Living Wage Networks and the Public Health Association Wellington branch are some of the groups who have signed the charter.

The charter calls for the right to: health care, a living income, a safe and healthy home, the ability to take party in society, a safe environment and an education.

UCAN is a national grassroots health rights organisation based in Wellington.

The group’s spokesperson, Debbie Leyland, says the growing gap between rich and poor sits next to health under funding as the country’s biggest health concerns.

“More and more people are being denied health care because they can’t afford it,” she says. “Poor housing, homelessness and low wages and benefits are as big a health problem as our growing waiting lists and number of people who need surgery but can’t get on a list.”

New Zealand has enough wealth to provide for all citizens but wealth is “poorly distributed”, she says.

“The provision of basic rights for all citizens just isn’t a priority.”

Leyland is calling on all political parties to support the charter.

Labour party finance spokesperson, Grant Robertson, Green Party social development spokesperson Jan Logie will speak at the presentation alongside representatives from Child Poverty Action Group, The Equality Network and The Living Wage Network.

ENDS

Report from Radio NZ on Equality Network presentation

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Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 10.34.18 AM.pngGood coverage from Radio NZ on the presentation of the Equality Network‘s Election Statement.

It is essential that the issue of reducing inequality remains forefront with an election breathing down our necks. Any inaction on concrete and committed longterm planning to reduce inequalities will continue to have long-reaching impacts for those who live in the harshest of conditions in Aotearoa.

It is essential to keep the pressure up.

Image: Screenshot of Radio NZ page

Presentation at the launch of Equality Network Election Statement

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Debbie Leyland_UCANDebbie Leyland spoke on the step of Parliament voicing endorsement of the Election Statement launched by the Equality Network. Attached is the text of Debbie speech.

“We believe it is possible for all New Zealanders to enjoy a decent life, one where everyone thrives. But we recognise that big imbalances of income and wealth have been deeply destructive and unfair. They corrode our social fabric and limit the life chances of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders. Combined with other inequalities – such as those of gender and ethnicity – they damage lives and deepen disadvantage.” Equality Network, Election Statement 2017


My name is Debbie Leyland. I am 53 years old and I am on a benefit. I am also the co-founder, coordinator and spokesperson for UCAN – United Community Action Network, and I am on the steering group of the Equality Network – both of which are voluntary roles.

Every week  after i pay rent power and bills I am left with $70 a week.

The sad thing is, among my friends I’m considered rich.

My $70 covers my weekly food, transport, medication and doctor’s fees. It’s really hard.

Most weeks I’m also helping out my family – putting $10 into my daughter or son’s account, or buying them a top up card or whatever they need.

My daughter has carpal tunnel syndrome which affects her hands so she can’t work. She has an 8-month old baby. Her and her partner are on a benefit, and they are left with just $102  a week after power and rent, to support two adults. and my 8 month old grandchild – $102.  for food and everything else including nappies.

A few weeks ago my daughter was over here, and I found some money under the bed. I asked her what we should buy as a treat, and we both said peaches! It was like we’d won lotto. Who can afford to buy fruit? No one that I know. I haven’t seen a full fruit bowl, in the house of anyone I know, for years.

We bought some cauliflower the other day and we were in heaven, it was like Christmas. I’d love to be able to fill my cupboards with fresh vegetables and food so when my family come I could feed them a really wholesome meal. My fridge is empty. I’ve got a can of baked beans and a can of tomatoes. I haven’t bought a block of cheese for months. It’s too expensive.

I’m on the invalid’s benefits because I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to things that happened during my childhood. I suffer from depression and anxiety. It’s very difficult but I’m at a level now where I’m well and I can maintain my life. But sometimes I can’t afford my medication, because I don’t have enough money, and then I become really unwell.

I feel like being on a benefit has impacted on my life hugely. The saddest thing for me is the reaction when I’m working out in the community. There’s a lot of people who, when you say you are a beneficiary, think you are either a bludger, or lazy, or whatever. The second part is the financial restraints – it is nearly impossible to live on that amount of money. People frame being on the benefit as a choice. I didn’t wake up and think “I’m going to go on the benefit and live in complete poverty for the rest of my life.” I didn’t ask to be here.

Every day I have to make choices. Do I go to the doctor or do I feed the kids? It’s an ongoing battle. I used to go out and about, and now I don’t.  The last time I actually went out with my friends was 2 and a half years ago. I can’t do things that people take for granted like going out as a family for dinner, or going out to entertainment. It’s really hard.

It was my granddaughter’s birthday the other day, and I just didn’t have enough money to buy her a present or even to go out to Porirua to see her.  I just had to ring her and say happy birthday. I’d like to be able to take my daughter or grandchildren for a walk through the town belt but they can’t afford the train fare from Porirua, and i can’t afford to get out there. Being on the benefit really creates distance within families.

Being on a benefit and being in a Housing Corp house creates a community of fear. If something happens in my house, nothing ever gets done. After the big earthquake, my bedroom door fell off. They haven’t come to fix that. The toilet upstairs leaks, my windows have mould all over them and I have to wash them every few days. You can’t lock the front door – it’s been like that for about a year. I had my granddaughter over here 2 weeks ago, and she kicked a ball through the window. I rang housing corp and they sent someone over to board up the window. It’s been three weeks and they still haven’t fixed it. But you don’t want to kick up too much fuss because there’s a constant worry that they might throw you out.

I hate going to WINZ. There’s nothing more humiliating than having to go to WINZ and ask a complete stranger for money. It’s horrible. When I went to WINZ to get some help with a washing machine, my appointment was at 2 o’clock, but I didn’t get to see my case manager until 3.30. People think that if you are on the benefit your time is not important and you have nothing better to do. What about the people who have to pick up their kids from school? My local WINZ in Kilburnie has moved to Newtown, so if you need assistance or a grant or medicine you have to walk to Newtown. That has affected so many people. We just don’t go now. It’s too far to walk.

I’m asking the Government to increase benefits.  By increasing the benefit and providing fairer income support it would mean that I could actually partake in society. I could spend more time with my family,  I would be able to eat a healthy diet. I could go to the doctor when I need to. I could have some dignity.

Getting special or an emergency benefit for example a food grant, as cash would make life so much easier.  It would mean I could buy veggies at the Newtown market, cheap Indian grains at places like the Spice Market, and shop around for cheap heaters that I want.  Plus, the cards that WINZ gives you are only valid for three days. So in the middle of winter when it’s pouring with rain, you have to walk in the rain to the shops and back with your shopping – all because your card can’t be used on the bus and you don’t have spare money. It’s a real struggle.

I think that that’s why the Equality Network is so important, it keeps these issues at the forefront of what is going on. That’s why I’m involved. It gives a voice to people that don’t have any. I want people to realise that beneficiaries are human beings and that decisions made in parliament affect all of us. It’s tragic to think that we’ve gone from Joseph Savage, who set up social welfare so all citizens could have a decent quality of life, to this – where we are living on crumbs, and having to feel grateful. I ask the Government to be brave and act with courage. To support people like myself to have a decent quality of life.

Thank you.