It is a bit too easy to blame GPs for all delays in getting patients checked for cancer (NZ Herald, May 6).
Back in 2015 and into 2016, I exhibited classic symptoms of abdominal cancer, and heard my GP being rebuffed on three occasions in trying to get me a colonoscopy to check my symptoms. Because I had had a series of colonoscopies to remove polyps over the years, the hospital kept saying, "he is not due for further tests for another two years".
Over the past three months, I have been having similar symptoms which again graphically tick all the boxes for bowel cancer, plus the graphic photos to prove them, yet my GP's first approach to the hospital resulted in an appointment time frame of about three months to be seen. With the symptoms now more severe, I only have to wait out the pain for two more weeks ... oh goody! With the 2016 diagnosis of gastric cancer it took three trips to ED by ambulance and my refusal to leave on the third occasion before I was able to be seen by a specialist and my diagnosis of gastric cancer confirmed. I was lucky that time ... this time?
Dennis Pennefather, Te Awamutu
The Herald has printed stories of how misdiagnosis and lack of appropriate referrals create problems in our medical system, causing needless suffering. We need to examine our medical system; why are doctors overworked, and patients scheduled only for 15 minute appointments?
To benefit from limited GP time, patients could write down their concerns before their visit. Patients should learn about health issues so they can ask good questions. Patients must get copies of their medical records so they know what doctors are saying about them and respond to inaccuracies.
A grumpy and annoyed gastroenterologist was 40 minutes behind schedule when he saw us. Unknown to us, his erroneous report that my husband's anxiety was the problem resulted in his symptoms being ignored for seven years before death. The day he died, he passed a mental status exam and then was told his diagnosis: "severe diverticulitis, impacted and infected". He was too weak for the operation. My husband died that day but, before his death, he asked me never to complain about this. His loyalty to his GP remained intact.
Name withheld, Glen Eden
The OceanaGold application to continue mining in Waihi was approved late 2018 and no objections were lodged by the deadline date of January 30, 2019.
Fast forward three months to April 2019 and, despite approval by Associate Finance Minister David Clark, Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage uses her veto to block a separate, but essential, application by OceanaGold to purchase an adjoining 178ha of farmland, needed to establish a long-term tailing reservoir (NZ Herald, May 3).
Why would the Government allow one solitary minister to put hundreds of millions of dollars and hundreds of regional jobs at risk, while at the same time giving another minister $3 billion of public money for regional development? Shane Jones why are you silent?
Greg Clark, Waihi
One agrees with Susan Grimsdell (NZ Herald, May 7) that words are a waste of time and money when endeavouring to lower the road toll. It is also agreed that safety barriers should be installed wherever possible. However, barriers alone will not resolve bad driving and change the topography of this country. The paucity of police patrolling our roads and lack of speed cameras make speed limits redundant.
Drivers will only slow down if they are heavily penalised for their actions whether that be by fines, defensive driving courses at their cost or complete loss of licence.
It is therefore very important to not only increase safety but also attack the root cause that being driver incompetence and lack of care.
Reg Dempster, Albany
Your correspondent (NZ Herald, May 7), Susan Grimsdell is unfortunately way off the mark as there is never "only one answer" to the appalling road toll - or many other major problems. Roads are inanimate. They just sit there and wait for idiot drivers to fail to read the road conditions, fail to concentrate and, worst of all, fail to recognise that learning to be a skilful driver does not stop the day you pass your driving test – that is if you ever took one.
While putting in solid median safety barriers in a wide four- or six-lane highway should be a top priority, they are never ever going to be installed on minor roads. Maybe those involved in single-vehicle crashes or who cross the centre lines are the single biggest problem? Or maybe the fact that in more than 30 per cent of fatalities, seatbelts weren't being worn, is a pointer to a general disregard for the law? Don't blame the roads. Blame the drivers.
Ray Green, Birkenhead
The driving force behind the ARU trying to tear up Israel Folau's contract is their chief sponsor Qantas, which has previously complained about Israel's views on homosexuality. The perverse irony of this is Qantas is a partner with Qatar Airways and Royal Jordanian. These airlines belong to two of the most anti-gay nations in the world. Both have the death penalty for homosexuals.
Another Biblical statement Israel could share with the ARU and Qantas is "before you remove the speck from your neighbour's eye, first remove the plank from your own".
Kent Millar, Blockhouse Bay
David F Little (NZ Herald, May 7) says those that rent out properties "are presumed to be running a business in spite of the fact they employ no one and produce nothing". This is misleading.
Many rental investors are self-employed, in essence employing themselves. For those that hire managers, they employ those people too. When they choose to improve a home, many employ people to do that, or do it themselves, hence employ themselves. They produce the opportunity for people that can't afford a first home to rent a house out, any income tax they pay to the Government and give the opportunity for others to be employed or contracted, which means they pay taxes too. All of this decreases unemployment benefit payments, and increase Government tax revenue.
It is also only the interest on the mortgage that is deducted for tax expenses, not all the mortgage repayment.
Little's idea has some merit to it, especially because the Labour-led Government has decided against a capital gains tax, thereby letting many rental investors receive a large amount of their profits tax free. But to say that rental investors "employ no one and produce nothing" is a misrepresentation.
William Austin, Papatoetoe
Annabel Haddrell is absolutely right that a lot of people are fed up with AT's performance (NZ Herald, May 7). When Len Brown became mayor, I asked him at a meeting how the council would "control" CCOs. He said the council could "influence" them. Therein in lies the problem. The "command structure" is upside down. Amalgamation has delivered a lemon.
The council's performance needs to be independently audited ... as recommended by the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance.
John Clements, Orewa
There's been a lot of discussion recently about climate change, but no mention of one of the most effective ways to decrease our impact – reducing or eliminating our consumption of animal products. It's not an easy topic to bring up because what we eat is a personal and even cultural thing. Even environmental organisations haven't wanted to talk about it until recently, they've been too scared to lose popularity although they've known about the massive negative impacts of animal agriculture for decades.
The facts speak for themselves though; animal agriculture is responsible for around half of NZ's greenhouse gas emissions (not to mention freshwater wastage and pollution, habitat loss, deforestation and species extinction) and it's on the rise.
The recent report on NZ's environment shows that dairy herds alone have increased by 70 per cent over the past 23 years. But there's an easy way to make a massive difference, just by choosing to eat more plant-based food.
Other benefits of a plant-based diet include less chance of preventable illnesses like heart disease, cancer and diabetes, and less animal suffering (despite what people would like to believe, NZ has a terrible track record with animal cruelty). Documentaries about these issues include Cowspiracy, What the Health, and Dominion (all online), or read "Plant Paradigm" by James Wilson, a fourth-generation Kiwi farmer.
If we want to make a positive change and we care about the planet, our health or animals, it's well worth looking at the impact of our diet.
Amy Taylor, Whitianga
Some in the media seem to think that NZ is merely a small copy of the US. They seem to think that NZ works the same way as that foreign country depicted in the sitcoms that saturate our TV channels. I suppose that is why the Prime Minister's partner is often called the "first bloke".
I hate to have to break it to you, but any first bloke has to be the partner of our head of state, the Queen of New Zealand. The second bloke is the partner of the Governor General. Clarke Gayford regrettably comes in at only third bloke. The fourth bloke is the Speaker of the House. It's all easily checked out on the government website giving the order of precedence.
It would be nice to see NZ media reflecting NZ, rather than elsewhere.
Peter Verner, St Mary's Bay
Electricity prices, CCOs, hate speech and our health system
Unhealthy products, homelessness and Auckland Transport
Short & Sweet
If we legalise the recreational use of cannabis will adequate legislation and testing for impaired driving be in place or will we just treat the higher road toll as modern and acceptable?
Adrian Wilson, Northcote
I read with interest the complaints about cancer funding and I also notice that plans to introduce a capital gains tax have been abandoned. In which fairyland does medical treatment not have to be paid for?
Nicola Slade, Te Aroha
On the day we learn of lung cancer being our leading cancer, and effective drugs for it are not adequately funded by Pharmac, it's announced there will be a referendum on whether to legalise inhaling carbonised marijuana particles into the lungs. This is described as "recreational".
Nick Nicholas, Greenlane
Mayor Goff promises a review of CCOs, if he is re-elected. He is much more likely to be re-elected if he takes positive action to reign in AT's arrogance before the election.
J P Kania, Long Bay
It would benefit us all to always keep left, whether on the footpath or road and whether a pedestrian, cyclist, "scooterist" or motorist.
R W Russell, Castor Bay
I was advised by staff at the newly opened H&M store in Botany Town Centre that a jacket could not be taken off the mannequin in the window to check for size as "health and safety laws do not allow it".
Margaret Wyatt, Tauranga
Calling it "synthetic cannabis" is about as useful as calling polyester "synthetic cotton". I like to call it "flyspray".
Morgan L. Owens, Manurewa