Health is always a big issue in politics. That’s because it’s a big issue in people’s lives. Getting a doctor’s appointment, paying for healthcare, getting hospital treatment, getting access to the best drugs. We all want the best healthcare possible.
The need for good healthcare becomes much more urgent when we experience ill health ourselves, or when a family member is suffering. Even when we’re in good health, we need to know that the health system is functioning well. If we are confident that our health system will cover us when we need it, we are freed up to get on with the rest of our lives.
But what exactly does it mean for the health system to be functioning well? People’s needs are complex and varied. For an older person, it might mean being able to get to the doctor easily. A younger person might need to know exactly when their appointment will be, so that they don’t have to take too much time off work. A new migrant might need translation services. Families might need to be able to visit loved ones in hospital easily.
Getting access to hospital care can be a real problem in West Auckland, with many patients needing to go across to North Shore Hospital for treatment that isn’t available locally. While the care is superb, just getting there can be very difficult, and that makes it harder to access healthcare.
I’m keen to help locals understand how the government makes decisions about healthcare, and to communicate directly with the Minister of Health about this issue. To facilitate this, your West Auckland MPs have organised a meeting on health, with the Minister of Health, the Honourable Dr David Clark, on the evening of Wednesday 26 March, in the Kelston Community Centre, starting at 7pm. Deborah Russell, MP for New Lynn