How often have you heard it, the refusal to go to the doctor, usually by men, until they're at death's door? It's seen as some sort of badge of honour, they can tough it out, the ache will soon go away, it's just a matter of time.

By the time they do walk through the doctor's door, their condition is acute and the cost to the taxpayer is colossal not to mention the cost to their life.

Talk to the same bloke though about his ute and how often it needs a tune up, not to mention its six monthly warrant of fitness and you'll hear another story. There's no way he'd overlook that. He takes a pride in keeping it in good shape, getting a kick out of people turning their heads as he drives by.

Tell him to go to the doctor for a regular check-up though, or worse still have a prostate test, and you're likely to be brushed off as a poofter and told to mind your own business. It's the New Zealand macho way and usually it usually has nothing to do with the cost of a doctor's visit but if it does then the excuse won't wash.


For a number of years we've been able to go to a registered practitioner nurse if we're feeling poorly, although it would seem most of us were unaware of it. She or he's been able to prescribe a range of drugs and that range is about to be extended.

The Beehive's decided that nurses should from midway through next month be able to dispense with a wider range of drugs that treat common or long term conditions, like diabetes or asthma. Most of us who suffer from a long term condition shouldn't be required to visit a doctor every time we need a prescription and the change will preclude us from having to do that.

But that's not to say that we shouldn't have a check-up from time to time, just like our vehicles, we need one.

And just to try and ensure we stay on the right side of the health ledger our lawmakers are now looking at changing the legal status of e-cigarettes. For some unknown reason the sale of these contraptions is prohibited in this country if they contain the addictive nicotine.

For some unknown reason they've called for submissions to see if we support them being legalised. But surely it's a no brainer.

The vapour they emit doesn't contain the many carcinogens that vile cigarette smoke does and nicotine doesn't cause cancer.

So if they do become legal, the next time you see a bloke pulling up in his ute outside a nurse's practice with a slim metal pipe hanging out of his mouth, applaud him!