Amy Adams MP

No room for complacency in health

by Amy Adams, MP for Selwyn

I was pleased, if somewhat surprised, to read in the July 3 edition of The Record that Selwyn had ranked first in health wellbeing out of all of the 66 regions surveyed in the latest Infometrics Regional Wellbeing Survey.

It was heartening to see that our life expectancy was apparently the highest in New Zealand.

However, I did wonder if the fact that Selwyn reportedly had the second-lowest presentation rate for mental health issues was necessarily a good thing. The reason for my hesitation is that I am unsure whether this means that as a district we have less mental health issues than average or whether it could be an indication that people are not accessing help despite needing it. In my role as the local MP for Selwyn, I have met with a number of families who have lost a member due to suicide, and I am aware there are many others in the district who have had to endure such a tragedy.

While we are fortunate to have access to tertiary level hospital facilities here in Canterbury, for some residents in our rural communities, it is quite an undertaking to get to a doctor for a regular check-up. Moreover, because of this, there can be a tendency for people living in more isolated communities to ignore potential health warning signs because of their busy lifestyles and the lack of convenience.

For this reason, National wants to pilot mobile rural health clinics serviced by health practitioners, which will travel to remote rural communities on a regular basis, where they can provide general health check-ups and mental health support for locals.

This proposal to ensure people in rural communities have easy access to quality healthcare was included in our recently released primary sector discussion document and is available online at national.org.nz/primary_sector if you would like to read about it further.