Housing or hospitals?

Press Release – Royal NZ College of General Practitioners

Media Release
30 November
2012

Housing or
hospitals?

The latest issue of the
Journal of Primary Health Care sees debate on the
issue of capping the health budget in favour of spending
more money on housing and food.

In the Back-to-Back
column Professor Howden-Chapman argues that spending on
housing rather than hospitals will lead to better health
outcomes, whereas Dr White counters that increasing spending
on hospital and other health services generates a good
return on investment.

Professor Howden-Chapman points to
the success of the now defunct Healthy Housing Programme run
by Housing Corporation New Zealand and the Auckland District
Health Boards. This was successful in reducing acute and
arranged hospital admissions for under 20s in households
participating in the programme. She sees the lack of
continued investment in the programme as misguided
considering that inequalities in infectious disease rates
are driven by poverty and household overcrowding.

Dr White
argues that spending more on health, besides improving
health outcomes, has considerable value to society
increased employment, recreation and community wellbeing.
He says the health budget should not be capped to spend more
on housing and food; instead more should be spent on
prevention of disease and in care of patients already
ill.

The journal also features the results of a population
survey about awareness of drug safety and possible adverse
effects of prescription and over-the-counter
medications.

“The survey found adults taking
prescription and over-the-counter medications had a very low
level of drug safety knowledge.”

Also featured in this
issue is a study of nutritional risk amongst
community-living older people in Hawke’s Bay.

“The
study found nutritional risk is present in over half of the
over-65 year olds sampled, with older Maori 5.2 times more
likely to be at risk than non-Maori”, says the
Editor.

Poor nutrition increases the risk of
hospitalisation, disability and morbidity. Maintaining good
nutrition is vital for healthy aging.

The Journal of
Primary Health Care
is published by The Royal New
Zealand College of General Practitioners quarterly. The
December issue is available on their website at www.rnzcgp.org.nz/journal-of-primary-health-care

ENDS

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