Wednesday, March 18, 2015

SOMETIMES I DESPAIR

I am not sure how many of you are conversant with the unique situation that exists in the Hokianga in respect of the provision of health services.

The story of Dr GM Smith is a fascinating one.    He came to the Hokianga from Scotland in 1914 and set up in private practice working from the Rawene Hospital.     Short story ... he quickly became convinced that the area required an integrated health service that recognized the special needs of a population living in such an isolated area and successfully lobbied Government to establish the Hokianga as a 'Special Medical Area' where all services including the provision of pharmaceuticals are provided free of charge.    This continues to the present day under the aegis of the Holianga Health Enterprise Trust.

Smith has been variously described as hard-working, dedicated, autocratic, unorthodox  and eccentric.   He was noted for a range of medical interventions including the 'painless birth'.    He was a community leader and, for a time, President of the Social Credit movement until they fell out with him or vice versa.   Smith was loved and respected by the people of the Hokianga.     The medical establishment had a less charitable view of him.

I caught up with my old mate Hiku Cherrington the other day and asked him how things were going.   Hiku chairs the Hokianga Health Enterprise Trust.   I had read with a certain amount of skepticism that everyone in the Hokianga SMA were provided with basic dental services (extractions/fillings/cleaning) free of charge and wanted to know how this was working out.     That's a service that the rest of NZL can only look at with wonder.   Hiku told me that they had established and equipped a dental suite at the Hospital and staffed it appropriately but that it was underutilized simply because the locals were failing to present for their 'free' appointments.   I was gobsmacked.

It reminded me of the prediction of Sir Apirina Ngata when he said in relation to the establishment of 'Social Security' by the first Labour Government that "this will destroy my people".    How true ... the handout mentality has lead to the devaluing of a free service which can only be the envy of the rest of NZL.

Sometimes I despair.


10 comments:

JC said...

Ah, but does that mean other free health services are under-utilised.. or is it just fear of the dentist and his drill thats the issue?

If the rest of the free services are well enough patronised.. and I think they are.. then look to the horror programs on the TV where the sugar Nazis and their gruesome pictures of rotting teeth and extractions are doing the opposite of what was intended.

JC

The Veteran said...

JC ... there may be a bit of the fear of the dentist in it but you're going to be working to convince me that any rationale person would turn their nose up at free dental services ... there has to be another more fundamental reason behind what's happening.

Is it perhaps the mind-set where, if its free, I don't need to bother and someone will always be there to pick up the pieces.

Is that what Ngata was on about? It it was then I think he nailed it.

Noel said...

Was a time when the School Dental Service was responsible for bringing teeth care to students. Now all they do is examine and refer to a local dentist. Appointments are often not always compatible and distances to the dentist become an excuse for non appearance. And suddenly it is pronounced that today's students have poor teeth.

It might no be as simple as a fear of the "murder house".

The Veteran said...

Noel ... not sure you're right re the school dental service. I have a cousin who is a school dental nurse in the Manawatu. She does fillings. I agree that anything more complex (like a five YO presenting requiring multiple extractions ... happens) is referred to a dentist.

But the situation in the Hokianga sure has me beat. $190-$240 for a filling in Keri2 If I lived 70k away in Rawene I would rock up for free.

JC said...

Vet, it looks like *all* children to age 18 get free dental treatment in NZ.

https://www.healthed.govt.nz/resource/its-easy-protect-your-familys-smile-%E2%80%93-english-version

Looks like we need more info from other regions before commenting on Northland.

JC

Noel said...

The Trust 2014 report is interesting. Appears none of us would fit the priority criteria.

Noel said...

Sorry should have been more specific.
If you are pregnant or an under thirty care giver by all means "rock on up".

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Perhaps the reason might be very simple?

Just too damned lazy to get out of their own way.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

BTW, I forgot to ask was it dispair or datpair?

Noel said...

"Just to damn lazy too get out of their own way"
Geez your always use generalisations when attacking other races. It could be that there are simply less pregnant and under 30 care givers in the Hokianga.