Jonathan Coleman

Annette King tries to make a budget increase sound like a budget cut

New leaked documents show 10 district health boards face cuts in this year’s Budget.

Leaked!

Leaked by Labour, of course.  Who got it from their union flunkies.

Yet the whole budget will go up by 340 million.  Plus, those DHBs that need it less than others are having a little taken away.   Here are the details.

Funding difference by your region for 2016-2017:

Increases:

Northland: 2.13 percent
Auckland City: 0.49 percent
Counties Manukau: 0.13 percent
Bay of Plenty: 1.49 percent
Waikato: 1.50 percent
Lakes District: 3.06 percent
Gisbourne/Tairawhiti: 2.70 percent
Whanganui: 0.60 percent
Palmerston North: 0.82 percent
Southern: 0.80 percent

Decreases:

Waitemata: -0.51 percent
Hakwes Bay: -0.01 percent
Wairarapa: -0.15 percent
Taranaki: -0.29 percent
Hutt: -0.15 percent
Capital and Coast: -1.54 percent
Nelson/Malborough: -0.75 percent
Christchurch: -0.98 percent
South Canterbury: -0.15 percent

But this is how Labour is selling it Read more »

Keytruda gets the middle finger as Pharmac gets more money

Access to a drug to fight melanoma could be a step closer, with more funding in store for the Government’s drug-buying agency.

Pharmac will get an extra $39 million over two years in this year’s Budget, Prime Minister John Key and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman announced this morning.

Pharmac says it’s excited by the boost, and has opened consultation on seven new treatments — including one for melanoma.

No specific drugs were mentioned, but the Government has been under pressure to fund Keytruda or rival Opdivo, touted as wonder-drugs in the fight against melanoma. New Zealand has the worst rates of the cancer in the world.

“Pharmac will be the sole decision-maker of what those drugs are,” says Mr Key. “The Government in no way wants to interfere with the independence of Pharmac, but it is giving it greater optionality by providing it more funding.”

Pharmac is consulting on nivolumab, marketed as Opdivo, in the same treatment class as Keytruda.

Opdivo has been approved for use against melanoma by New Zealand’s medicines regulator MedSafe.

“We’ve taken the data package for Opdivo through our clinical experts and they’ve advised us the clinical data is of good quality, well-structured and gives greater confidence that there is a survival gain for patients that receive it,” Pharmac chief executive Steffan Crausaz says.

Trying to force government into Keytruda through lobbying the Labour party to run a damaging campaign has come back to bite.   Read more »

TV3 pimps sugar tax

Two nights ago TV3 was doing its bit to pressure Health Minister Jonathan Coleman into introducing a sugar tax in NZ by running ‘Jamie’s Sugar Rush’ .

Join Jamie Oliver in his brand new documentary as he investigates the role sugar is playing in rising global health problems.

Jamie Oliver has taken great delight in the recent UK announcement for a sugar tax. Fair enough; he’s entitled to his view.

But is he really walking the talk, or just talking the talk?

Some would say no, particularly Christopher Snowdon at Velvet Glove, Iron Fist, who highlights;

Jamie Oliver, the celebrity chef and cockwomble, has decided to introduce a soda tax in his restaurants “to send a powerful and strong message to government”. He claims that he will give money raised to the state-funded sock-puppet charity Sustain, who are agitating for a soft drinks tax that will cost taxpayers £1 billion a year.

If Oliver feels so strongly about fizzy drinks he could simply stop selling them, but that would hit his bottom line so he’d rather gouge his customers to fund a campaign for a state-sanctioned ‘level playing field’ that will rip off his competitors’ customers too.    Read more »

Dunedin hospital food passes the Coleman Taste Test

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Jonathan Coleman went to Dunedin Hospital yesterday to taste the food that Andrew Little described as “slops” in parliament.

Frankly I am appalled that Andrew Little denigrated hard working, probably unionised, hospital catering staff without testing the food himself.

Jonathan Coleman did though…and he said it was yummy.

Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman has praised the ”standard Kiwi fare” he sampled at Dunedin Hospital today, and says there is ”nothing wrong” with the meals.

Dr Coleman took part in the taste test today due to pressure over the meals in recent days because of publicity about meals.

He ate bolognese and pasta, a sandwich, and soup, and enjoyed them all.

Dr Coleman suggested people needed to adjust their expectations about what to expect when they are in hospital.   Read more »

Coleman removes a layer of bureaucracy in the health system – a good start

A few troughers will be upset, but they matter not a bit.

Jonathan Coleman makes a good start in removing bureaucracy.

The government is scrapping a board and a committee which have had important roles in the public health system.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the National Health Board and the National Health Committee will be disestablished, with their functions taken over by the ministry.

“We need a strengthened and streamlined ministry which is empowered to lead the health system,” he said on Friday.

“I want to see clearer roles and accountabilities, and duplication reduced.”   Read more »

Politicians should stay out of operational matters for cheap point scoring

The Herald editorial is unusually sensible today

Contrary to widespread belief, it appears Pharmac does not have a formula such as the “quality adjusted life year” (QALY) used in Britain. That system enables the benefit of a drug to be measured by the extra years of life it offers, adjusted for the level of health the patient has for those additional years, and the cost of the drug can be divided by the QALY to see how it compares to all other medicines that may be provided from public funds. Britain has decided to fund Keytruda, as has Australia and others.

Pharmac’s system is not simply a cost-benefit evaluation, says its chief executive, Steffan Crausaz. He explains that it uses nine criteria such as “the health needs of all eligible people in New Zealand” and “such other criteria as Pharmac thinks fit”. That probably includes discretion to reject a new drug if the price demanded by the manufacturer seems out of all proportion to the costs of its discovery, development and clinical trials. While those costs can be high, and it is reasonable for manufacturers to use their successful drugs to also cover the costs of their unsuccessful research, price gouging is too easy for some of their products. Read more »

The duplicity of Labour and Annette King

Annette King has made a big song and dance, along with her Media party pals, about pain threshold for patients needing surgery.

She has claimed it has increased, but the DHBs have busted her by revealing her researchers asked separate questions which they then conflated to allegedly mislead the house.

Shots have been fired over surgical figures, with the Health Minister accusing Labour’s Annette King of misleading Parliament by claiming Auckland DHB had raised its pain threshold for patients needing surgery.

Auckland DHB has hit back saying it has not, and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has accused King of deliberately “fudging the facts’.

Misleading the house is a serious offence, which in some situations is dealt with by the privileges committee and the House has the ability to punish someone for contempt if that person is found to have deliberately misled it.

Read more »

Candy, soda and fast food are not driving the rising obesity trend in the US

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Well here’s a headline obesity troughers wouldn’t want you to see, but it’s the latest research findings from Cornell University.

Remember here in NZ, well known obesity troughers like Professor Boyd Swinburn, Stefanie Vandevijvere, $11 million dollar woman Cliona Ni Mhurchu and those anti fizzy drink activists FIZZ all believe sugar taxes are the answer to Kiwi kids getting fatter.   Read more »

And the Media Party thinks this person should be deputy leader of Labour?

The Media Party are pushing for Jacinda Ardern to be deputy leader of the Labour party.

It really is a push with little or no merit, and yesterday’s performance in the house suggests that Ardern is not yet ready.

The National Party ministers and backbench had a feast as Ardern asked dopey questions about pies.

During parliamentary question time, Green Party MP Kevin Hague asked Health Minister Jonathan Coleman why the plan did not include a sugary drinks tax.

But Dr Coleman said again that there was not enough evidence to justify a tax.

“I know the member would love to tax all sorts of things… All I know is that if we have a Labour-Greens government, the price of everything is going to go up – it won’t be just soft drinks.”    Read more »

Will New Zealand parents with fat kids be charged with child abuse?

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Feeding your kids up so much they are junior fat bastards is child abuse.

Perhaps a Fat Bastard Tax should be levied against the parents.

The Government aims to have nearly all obese children referred to a doctor by the end of 2017.

The target is central to a new plan to reduce childhood obesity, announced today by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman.

Alongside it are public information and physical activity programmes, but there are no plans to put a tax on fatty foods.

The Government isn’t going to try to regulate the amount of sugar in food and Dr Coleman says evidence that taxing fizzy drinks reduces obesity is inconclusive.   Read more »