Archive for the ‘Health/disease/medicine’ Category

RDA picket, Auckland Hospital; Pic by Abigail Dougherty/Stuff

by Peggy Stewart

Junior doctors who are members of the Residents Doctors Association (RDA) have been striking this week in defence of their working conditions and for their Multi-Employer Collective Agreement (MECA). At the heart of this dispute sits bad faith negotiating by District Health Boards (DHBs), an attempt to undermine and expire the RDA MECA to impose an inferior MECA negotiated by a new rival union. This dispute is likely to continue for many months with further strikes on the cards. (more…)

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by Don Franks

According to Benjamin Franklin, “Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance”.

Ben never drove through Marlborough – New Zealand’s largest wine region has hard work, high risk and tense competition written all over it.

Mile after mile the land is pinned by hard-treated posts, in dead straight rows.  Countless workers have implanted the structures and cropped to uniform size the little emerging buds on which everything depends.

On frosty nights thousands are spent to save millions as helicopters beat their blades above the vines.

Marlborough’s 24,000 hectares of vineyard is set to be boosted by a further 6800 hectares by 2019/20.

When capitalism sees a potential profit there is no hesitation and no half measures.  So the profitable commodity of wine is growing, in several directions.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have found that the capacity of wine glasses ballooned nearly seven-fold over the past 300 years, rising most sharply in the last two decades in line with a surge in wine consumption.

A typical wine glass 300 years ago would only have held about a half of today’s smallest “official” measure of 125ml.

Along with glass sizes, wine’s alcohol percentage has grown over recent years – from 8 or 9 percent to a more robust and addictive 12 or 13.  Uncomfortably for producers and drinkers, the medical science case against wine has been growing too.

In 1987 the Royal College of Physicians, concerned about reports of alcohol related ill-health, put together a working committee, of epidemiologists, cardiologists, neurologists and endocrinologists.
This group created science-based guidelines for alcohol consumption.  It advised that men could drink 21 units a week with little risk of harm, while women could drink 14 a week.
Their unit then was a glass of wine, at the then standard eight to 10 per cent alcohol.
Medical consensus today has reduced the “safe limit” to 14 weekly units for men and half of that for women and the elderly.

It gets worse.

Some experts now believe there is no safe level of drinking: Sir Ian Gilmore, a liver specialist and former president of the Royal College of Physicians, and a key adviser for the UK’s most recent guidelines, believes it’s misleading to tell people that there is any quantity of alcohol that would do no harm.

“Alcohol is classified by the World Health Organisation as a class 1 carcinogen,” Gilmore has said.  “You can’t say it is safe.”

One more time, capitalism and health are on collision course.

The stakes are high.  Alcohol is a huge source of capitalist government revenue.  Alcohol is also a long-entrenched part of western culture.  So many occasions large and small are presently unthinkable without it.

Tonight I enjoyed a Chardonnay with dinner.  It was nice, but I can’t quite say that it came delivering “fewer tensions’.

Pic: Caribbean 360

On Saturday October 6th, a magnitude 5.6 earthquake hit the northwest region of Haiti. The worst-affected area was ​​Port-de-Paix, a city of just over 460,000 people and the capital of the North-West department. The quake killed at least 17 people and injured about 430.

The North-West Department is one of the most remote areas of the country. Running water, electricity, roads, hospitals, schools, universities, are mirages – the government talks about them but the people do not see them.

Just over 200 years ago Haiti was at the front of the struggle for human freedom

Indeed, the state does not provide any public services.  The roads linking this department to other parts of the country are in a sorry state.  In the houses anti-seismic or anti-cyclone standards have not been applied. The state does not apply them in public buildings either.

The area of Port-de-Paix struggles under the weight of poverty and ill-health, while the situation is even worse in the other communes of the department. With such a cocktail, any natural phenomenon, depending on its scale, can be transformed into a social catastrophe and a human tragedy. And it is always the poorest who are the most affected.

Some areas are difficult to access, because of the state of the roads, so relief is hard.  The hospital in Port de Paix is ​​ (more…)

Here is a report by Renee Gerlich a foremost New Zealand writer on women’s oppression with factual up to date advance on the piece Jill Brasell wrote some years ago, by a foremost New Zealand writer on women’s oppression. Don Franks

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This report gathers findings from a range of sources, as well as including anecdotal material on unresearched aspects of women’s status in New Zealand, to paint an overall picture of the more urgent aspects of women’s status and encourage readers to make critical connections.

Male violence against women


“Intimate partner” violence

In the seven years from 2009 – 2015, there were 92 deaths caused by intimate partner violence in New Zealand. 63 women and 29 men were killed. 70 offenders were male, and 22 female. The gendered nature of this violence does not stop at these numbers, because 83 cases involved a recorded history of abuse. In 82 of those, women were the primary victim. In 67 cases those women were killed, and in 16 cases they killed in self defense.

Source: Family Violence Death Review Committee report, 2015.

There were 33,209 domestic violence incidents in the fiscal year 2014-15 – this being the number of referrals police requested that Women’s Refuge follow up. Out of the 16,507 women and children that required Women’s Refuge services in the year ending March 2015, 42% were Māori women. (more…)

Here we link to a downloadable double-sided leaflet produced by the Health Sector Workers Network.

The leaflet makes the case for an 18% increase for workers in the health sector as something worth fighting for.

If you would like to help distribute this leaflet contact the HSWN (here) or just download copies of the leaflet directly (here) and distribute them at local pickets and protests by workers in the health sector. (The leaflets are for health workers, rather than being for general distribution.)

Help build rank-and-file consciousness and power.

 

The current struggle by health workers has the potential to knock quite a hole in government/employer attempts to hold down wages across the board.  The struggle also points up the underfunding and misfunding in the health sector.

Health workers have not only been prepared to take industrial action, but they rejected the union leadership’s recommendations that they accept the woefully poor pay increase offered by the bosses.  At present what health workers and saying and doing suggests they are in no mood for really miserable compromises.

Below are links to articles that have appeared on the site of the Health Sector Workers Network, a rank-and-file group of workers across the various unions that operate in the health sector.  These articles are linked to as they chronologically appeared on the HSWN site.

We are also currently planning an interview with some activists from the HSWN.  We highly recommend their blog – read the article and support their work in whatever way you can.  To workers in health, we recommend you get involved in the HSWN.

Let’s Actually Do This

With negotiations concluded for this round of the DHB MECA, NZNO members are faced with an offer being recommended by the bargaining team. Reading comments from the NZNO facebook page, there is an overwhelming sense that members are extremely unhappy with the current offer on the table. This comes after. . . continue reading here.

 

The Time is Now

A confusing part of the NZNO DHB MECA negotiations has been the pay equity claim. The negotiating team has recommended the deal and considers the pay equity claim as part of the reasoning for accepting the deal. These are separate issues. If people want significant change, HSWN believe the time is not tomorrow to bring this, the time is now. . . continue reading here.

 

Health worker silence due to Employment Relations Act?

The ‘decision makers’ representing NZNO should reconsider their strategy. Following increasing questions over “Why is NZNO not in the media?” this ‘MECA offer FAQ’ was released (pictured here). Health Sector Workers Network take a different perspective. . . continue reading here.

 

The NZNO DHB MECA — what is at the heart of members’ anger and what can be done?

There has been a lot of frustration amongst NZNO members about the way the DHB MECA negotiations have unfolded. Health Sector Workers Network (HSWN) has been vocal about this process and the flaws in strategy. With the vote currently underway for the second offer, frustration has given way to anger in different forums. What are some of the possible causes?. . . continue reading here.

 

Why should health workers in DHBs expect an 18% pay rise in 2018?

With District Health Board (DHB) nurses in the Nurses Union voting no to their latest 2% pay offer, union members need to set some demands. If members expect a certain percentage increase, then there needs to be a clear figure in people’s minds. If this is not clear, then what are people fighting for?

Health Sector Workers Network (HSWN) have considered this and detailed a clear rationale for this target. Our focus has been specifically on the NZNO (New Zealand Nurses Organisation) DHB collective agreement. This collective agreement covers most Nurses, Midwives and Health Care Assistants (HCAs) in DHBs across New Zealand. This agreement is referred to as the DHB MECA which stands for DHB Multi-Employer Collective Agreement. The previous DHB MECA can be found here as a reference. This agreement expired on the 1st of August 2017.

If you do not read anything else from this article, then just remember this. . . continue reading here.

 

Say NO to the ‘independent’ inquiry into DHB health worker pay

The Health Sector Workers Network (HSWN) is concerned that the suggestion from Jacinda Ardern and the Labour government for an independent inquiry could see NZNO members shafted. . . continue reading here.

The Health Sector Workers Network, a rank-and-file grouping of workers in the health sphere, has as one of its current projects the assembling of stories of resistance by workers in this sector.

HSWN are conducting interviews with people who have direct experience of taking industrial action – or engaging in any form of struggle or resistance – while working in the health sector.

Your story will be recorded and run on the HSWN site, but you can be anonymous if you wish.

So please get in touch with the Network’s project on struggle and resistance in the health sector.  You can email:  Contact@hswn.org.nz 

The HSWN site, meanwhile, is here.

And HSWN on facebook is here.