I’ve worked as a medical doctor for almost 23 years. In all of that time I have not worked in a health system but in a sickness system. The last 15 years of my career I have worked in palliative care where we deal with the end of sickness, the end of life. I look after people who are dealing with the consequences of Diabetes and other long-term conditions that people die of. People of Māori and Pasifika ethnicity in the community I serve die of these diseases and cancers at much earlier ages than the rest of the population.
In hospice/palliative care we pride ourselves on providing whole person care through a Te Whare Tapa Whā lens. Health is not just about tinana/physical health but must also include wairua/spiritual health, hinengaro/emotional health and whānau/social health. Why do we save the best care till last? All people of Aotearoa New Zealand should be receiving whole person care from pre-cradle until after grave.
With the New Zealand health reforms we have an opportunity to transform our health system into a wellbeing system. We have an opportunity to transform the lives of generations to come, to give them the opportunity for better quality of life, throughout their entire life span. Why save the best for last? What can you do today to make for a better tomorrow? Together we can do this, but it will require different mindsets.
That’s the way it’s always been done.