In response to ongoing concerns about rural shortages of GPs, I presented, at the 2010 Health Informatics New Zealand Conference, on "The Alaska Community Health Aide Program".
This programme utilises a community-based workforce, known as Community Health Aide Practitioners (CHAPs) trained to be the "eyes, ears and hands of physicians" with the ability to work remotely.
This provider model of care has been proven to address health care staffing shortages, and recruitment and retention of staff, in underserved areas in Alaska.
When used with appropriate telehealth-based systems, studies have shown increased access to health care, decreased wait times, with overall improved effectiveness and cost savings throughout the health system.
The headline "Worn-out GP: System kaput, (NZ Herald, June 22) and Heather du Plessis-Allan's column on Sunday both stress the need for more GPs and nurses.
Yes, true. However, after more than a decade, with little progress on that front, perhaps it is time to ask if there are other ways to solve the health care worker shortage?
Don Lemieux, Te Kuiti.
The oft-repeated "tough on crime" demand from some politicians is frequently focused on gangs as major suppliers of illegal substances. Significant factors in crime are poverty, poor mental, physical and social health, inadequate housing, insufficient education and substance dependency.
So may we expect a crackdown on the liquor gangs, the fast-food gangs, and the gambling gangs? These place multiple outlets among the poorest and most vulnerable communities nationwide and sponsor sport and recreation programmes to positively spin their products.
These gangs also bring their most experienced lawyers to oppose council and community organisations struggling to deal with adverse effects saturation coverage of the products brings to vulnerable communities. They lobby parliamentarians relentlessly, often successfully, to avoid legislative changes that might hinder their outreach and expansion, their promotion and their profits.
These gangs seem unmoved by the nation's epidemics of obesity or addiction, continually targeting the most vulnerable among us. By far the best way to deal with crime is to take all reasonable steps to empower a healthy, free, happy community and get tough on those organisations and industries legal or illegal that undermine this essential humanitarian purpose.
John Marcon, Te Kauwhata.
More than 20 years of neglect of our mental institutions by respective governments has brought about the upsurge in mentally unwell currently creating concern in our communities.
The millions of taxpayer money the Government will undoubtedly waste on endless commissions of inquiry, lengthy commissions of inquiry reports, and the endless and costly meetings in the process when the solution is as plain as the noses on their faces.
All the mental institutions, which, in ignorance, governments tore down, must be replaced, or in some cases renovated so these individuals can be kept off our streets, not five or 10 years hence but as of right now.
Only then will New Zealand citizens feel safe as they go about their daily activities.
Restoring the dysfunctional relationship that exists between our schools, mental health professionals and the police also would go a long way in resolving the problem.
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
This current emergency department overload isn't a new phenomenon, it is indeed an annual event. It is winter, and this increases those winter ailments.
We will never know whether strategies to manage a Covid surge came to pass. It seems that a surge did not eventuate, rather, lingered for the past two years it would seem.
Some of us need to realise that doctors don't cure us; they give expert advice and guidance.
It is the patient who needs to heed that advice and use the tools that all health professionals have at their disposal, to enable their patient to heal.
John Ford, Taradale.
I heartily agree with C. G. Marnewick (NZ Herald, June 22) regarding disorderly wards in hospitals. It's been going on for a long time.
Years ago, my husband was in Auckland Hospital and the patient opposite had a continual flow of visitors all day and evening - with a noisy radio. Food was being passed around and unruly kids throwing apple cores all over the place - they thought it was really funny. Patients are there to receive treatment and be able to rest and hopefully get better without these selfish patients and their visitors not respecting this.
Not having visited the hospital recently, I wonder if the "smokers"- patients in their pyjamas - are still by the front entrance, coughing and smoking in all weather. They should be sent home to enable room for a person who needs a bed and who would appreciate the space now available to them.
P. Salvador, Hobsonville.
I was disappointed to read (NZ Herald, June 27) that Christopher Luxon silenced Simon O'Connor over his position on abortion.
There were 51 conscience votes against the abortion law in March 2020. Surely those 51 MPs and future MPs have a right to express their opinion.
I do think it is a sad day for National when the leader can silence his team on issues he is not happy about. This is not about abortion it is about the right of MPs to have an opinion and to have a conscience.
Throughout history, there have been thousands of members of Parliament around the world who have regretted not exercising their conscience and speaking up for what they believe. Nazi Germany is but one example where the leader went rampant and the conscience of many went out the window.
It appears there is no room for conscience in the National Party.
David Hay, Lynfield.
Let's give a huge shout-out to all the teachers who have worked so hard over many years to bring Matariki alive in early childhood centres and schools and to teach our youngest citizens about Matariki and what this time of year stands for from a Māori perspective.
Children have been learning about the values of aroha, manākitanga and kotahitanga and their parents and grandparents have been welcomed in to share kai and waiata at gatherings all over Aotearoa New Zealand.
Teachers have been generous with their time and energy and their work has allowed us to be ready as a nation to embrace and celebrate Matariki together on this, our special national day.
We are richer when we stand together.
Chris Bayes, Torbay.
Let peace reign
There have been two good responses to my letter (NZ Herald, June 21). I agree that Russia is wrong to invade and continue this horrific war in Ukraine. The natural reaction to defend Ukraine with military power is understandable but not the solution. Nato must take some responsibility for triggering Russian roulette from war game to reality.
Billions of US taxpayer dollars funding massive weaponry to defeat Russia only prolongs the war and leads to a nuclear holocaust. The mission is to stop this war and prevent future wars.
This requires dismantling the political, military-industrial complex and economic system that perpetuates warfare. Intelligent human beings would reject cultural indoctrination for wars.
Imagine if governments funded peace education and non-violence training in Ukraine, Russia, the US and all nations, instead of violence. Imagine if NZ focused its support for Ukraine on humanitarian aid, and peacemaking services and refused to contribute to the techno-barbarism of modern warfare.
We resurrected Matariki culture – to be mainstream, honouring our Earth, heavens and all peoples. Now let's truly help humanity end warfare by offering the best of our Aotearoa peace culture to the world.
Laurie Ross, Glen Eden.
Cause and effect
While Matthew Hooton (Herald, June 24) thinks Chris Hipkins is disingenuous with his apology to Charlotte Bellis over her MIQ debacle, we seem to be losing sight of the fact that unmarried pregnant people are not safe in Qatar. That is the situation that originally caused Ms Bellis to flee to the safer (relatively) Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
With no apology forthcoming from Qatar and a football world cup about to kick off there, isn't it time opinion writers such as Mr Hooton highlighted Qatar's appalling human rights stance?
Neil Anderson, Algies Bay.
Who on earth is AT employing to design travesties like the Upper Harbour cycleway (NZ Herald, June 23) that utterly fails to take the safety needs of all road users, including police, into account?
At an AT open day at Mt Albert a while ago, AT staff said their chief focus was on safe cycling, pretty much to the exclusion of anything else. But they can't even do that properly. Now the overburdened ratepayers will likely end up paying for these concrete barriers to be removed.
We can only hope AT will learn a sharp lesson from this new debacle and will hire planning staff who are properly qualified, have plenty of plain common sense, and are prepared to listen to what residents have to say.
Ian Dally, Royal Oak.
The Irish Rugby team have arrived in New Zealand for what should be a great three-test series against the All Blacks and two games against the Māori All Blacks.
Could I ask all the New Zealand rugby supporters attending the games in Auckland, Dunedin, Hamilton and Wellington to show the respect to the team (especially the kickers) that Irish supporters give every visiting rugby team playing in Belfast, Dublin, Galway or Limerick?
As an Irishman who has lived in New Zealand since 1989, I will be hoping for an Irish win over the All Blacks but I won't be booing Beauden Barrett or Richie Mo'unga if they have a kick to win the series at Sky Stadium in Wellington on July 16.
Oliver Lee, Takapuna.
Short & sweet
Protesters, peaceful or otherwise, should not be welcome on Parliamentary grounds. One million dollars of repairs after a past protest should not be seen to be acceptable to the New Zealand public. Linda Beck, West Harbour.
Can Matthew Hooton (NZH, June 24) and Charlotte Bellis become co-governing prime ministers please? Michael Walker, Blockhouse Bay.
Dave Gerrard showed courage because he knew he would come under personal attack for doing what he thought was right. It shows guts to disagree with the loud and bullying social warriors. Steve Dransfield, Karori.
Does Peter Goodfellow's announcement after the closure of board nominations amount to a Clayton's resignation? Chris Chrystall, Epsom.
If the Minister of Education could increase school attendance levels it would make life easier for the Minister of Police. Gary Andrews, Mt Maunganui.
If Simon O'Connor's narrow view on the subjugation of women's rights to abortion had any merit, he would not have removed his poorly conceived post after receiving better advice. Ian Brady, Titirangi.
The Premium Debate
Government policies have destroyed the industry. If the Government cancels the new tax-grab rule on interest deductibility, the property market will heal. It can do a tax grab via a stamp duty on every transaction. Interest deductibility affects mums and dads who are not getting pay rises but their mortgage payments are increasing and rental incomes, now taxable, mean a mass exodus and property crash in the making. Sunny K.
The facts tell a different story. The building industry in previous years has broken all records. That was too hard for 2018, as the previous nine years of neglect had pitiful numbers built. But the 2018 numbers were exceeded year-on-year. Hector B.
Surely it's not in Fletcher's interests either if the construction industry was to collapse. Why can't the industry leaders work it out? Why does the Government have to do it for them? Some of these very same people assert the Government is too controlling. And not all builders are short of Gib. John B.
The Gib issue is going to be over in a couple of months as Fletcher ramps up production with a new plant and imports to fill the supply gap, plus a slowing market. And, of course, those that have stockpiled, as some have, will take their profit before the price turns down again. As for trademarks and monopoly, again, market forces will find a remedy and, frankly, Fletcher would be dumb to not enforce any legal rights it has. It is a limited liability company with shareholders to respect. The Government needs to try to govern on the important issues such as child poverty, truancy, a crumbling health system, and an economic crisis that is far wider than the building trade. Glenn P.