If I had a dollar for every parent contacting me about the state of things at Starship, I could make a large donation to the Hospital.
It's dire in there at the moment. There’s a severe lack of funding, staff, beds, you name it, they’re screaming out for it.
I just can’t fathom how the country’s only specialist children’s hospital can be so over run and in such dire need… and yet the government does nothing. I know it’s a DHB issue, and that model's questionable to say the least in terms of the way it handles funding, but it still doesn’t make sense to me that it can get this woeful, and the only thing propping it up is private donors.
Off the back of last year, a year when the government locked people up and shut people out, the inevitable result was hundreds and hundreds of babies and children untouched by bugs and sickness. The follow on from this of course is that their little immune systems never got exposed to anything, never got the chance to toughen up or protect themselves. So now, this winter, with an influx of winter bugs, they’re getting knocked over and super sick... in their hundreds.
One of the many mums who reached out to me desperate with a baby in Starship, said the place is just heaving with children. She said there’s not enough space for them all, it can be seven hours just to get to even see a doctor. Starship’s ICU... the only dedicated intensive care for children in the country, is at critical capacity every 48 hours. This Mum told me nurses were telling her they just can’t take any more patients because it’s reaching ‘unsafe limits’. The cleaners can’t keep up, there's urine all over the toilet floors, she said.
Parents and nurses alike are desperate and at breaking point. One Starship Paediatrician told 1 News they’ve had “record numbers of presentations to the emergency department and very high numbers of hospital admissions..." According to another report, Kidz First Children’s Hospital at Middlemore has banned all visitors who're not primary caregivers to try to limit the spread of this surge of winter viral respiratory illnesses. ‘Hawke’s Bay and Christchurch Hospital [have had] a surge of sick kids needing treatment... with several admitted into intensive care’ too, according to 1 News.
So sick kids are swamping emergency departments around the country... they're overrun.
So given all this, where’s the funding? Where’s the money to help ease this pressure and treat this scourge of sickness which can be sheeted back to locking a country down for large chunks of winter last year?
It’s heartbreaking that all this is going on, especially as one Mum of a sick Hospitalised child said to me, when money can be handed out for a cycle way across Auckland's Harbour Bridge.
Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.
Breaking Views brings you expert commentary on topical political and policy issues. The views expressed are those of the author alone. The blog is administered by the New Zealand Centre for Political Research, an independent public policy think tank at NZCPR.com - register for the free weekly NZCPR newsletterHERE.