Health bosses reject the caring face of capitalism

In his very first speech to the Nation Winston Peters told us that:

Far too many New Zealanders have come to view today’s capitalism, not as their friend, but as their foe.

And they are not all wrong.

That is why we believe that capitalism must regain its responsible – its human face. That perception has influenced our negotiations.

There can not be a more obvious example of the caring and responsible face of capitalism than Ronald McDonald House which provides free accommodation for families whose children are in the various hospitals around the world for long periods of time.

Despite this caring face New Zealand Health bosses have rejected an offer of a Ronald McDonald house for Middlemore Hospital.

Counties Manukau Health has dropped plans for a Ronald McDonald House for families of Middlemore Hospital patients after its public health specialists reportedly opposed links with the fast food giant.

The district health board confirmed to the Herald on Sunday it had made its decision after taking “the advice of our public health team of doctors” but would not elaborate on the details of that advice.

But a medical source told the Herald on Sunday there had been opposition from the public health team to the DHB being associated with McDonald’s.

The decision was news to the Ronald McDonald House charity, which understood talks were on hold – but not that the health board had ditched the plan. It only learned of the decision when the Herald on Sunday called.

There is widespread community concern the amount of easily available fast food is contributing to New Zealand’s increasing child obesity problem. A McDonald’s outlet left Auckland Hospital in 2005, after eight years of controversy about the links between fast food and health.

But one expert last night said it would be a “real shame” if the DHB had rejected the offer because it didn’t want to be associated with the fast-food chain.

Food and nutrition writer and Herald on Sunday columnist Niki Bezzant said: “I have seen how the Ronald McDonald House at Auckland Hospital works and it’s a pretty amazing place and there’s really no hint of the influence of fast food there except that [McDonald’s] put up the money to pay for [the facility].

“I don’t think it’s intended to promote fast food to people who have got kids in hospital.”

In a statement the DHB said its executive had considered the approach from Ronald McDonald “very carefully, as proposals of this nature can be very divisive with staff and public alike”.

“On balance, we decided to take the advice of our public health team of doctors and to respectfully decline taking discussions further. We sincerely thank Ronald McDonald House Charity for their offer.”

This is a sad example of people putting politically correct concerns about how something might look before the needs of families. Is the taxpayer now going to have to stump up the money needed to provide the accommodation and food and services that a capitalist charity has already offered to provide for free or is the alternative nothing at all?

[…] There are four Ronald McDonald Houses across New Zealand, and the charity’s New Zealand CEO, Wayne Howett, described Counties Manukau Health’s decision as “at odds with other DHBs nationally”.

[…] “We are committed to our planned support in as many facilities as possible for families whose children face a medical journey, so will continue to assess and invest in facilities where there is a demand for our services.

“Our hospital partners agree that our support reduces stress for families, and helps them deliver the best care possible. Families who stay [at the house] have more time to spend with their child, interact with their doctors, and make important decisions about their child’s care.”

Bezzant said Ronald McDonald House provided a place for parents to go during a really stressful time. “It makes life pretty tough for parents from out of the area or from a long way away who have got kids in hospital because there is nothing for them in the hospitals, they have to sleep on the floor in the rooms and things like that.”


-NZ Herald

Art Room at Ronald McDonald house Auckland

Look at all that Ronald McDonald house provides for families with children in Auckland hospital currently:

Staying at Ronald McDonald House® Auckland

Families come to our House in Auckland from across New Zealand. Though the average length of stay is seven days, many families will to stay for weeks and months on end. Our Houses provide a home away from home, offering families a safe haven to retreat to, after a long day on the ward. From stocked kitchens to cosy lounges, we appreciate how important it is for our families to escape the clinical world of medicine, and take comfort from the familiarity and routine of a home-like environment.

Our staff are here to assist you throughout your stay. They’ll help you to find your way around, explain how the House works and put you in touch with the appropriate support networks if needed.

[…] Our rooms can accommodate a maximum of five people, one room per family, and you can stay with us for the entire duration that your child is in the National Children’s Hospital.

[…] Transplant children sometimes stay in the House with their families while waiting for surgery and while recovering from their operation, as do some oncology patients during longer treatment regimes.

[…] You will also be told about regular House events, like our free weekly family dinners.

[…] We provide basic supplies such as cereal, bread, tea, coffee, sugar and milk. You will need to purchase your own daily food for breakfast, dinner and midday meals. You are allocated storage for your food and the communal kitchens will have everything you need to cook with.

[…] Between these two facilities we provide House families with a whole host of amenities including:

Three kitchens stocked with necessities
Onsite laundry for families which is open from 8am-10pm
A library
An on-site school for children in years 1-8
TV lounges
Fitness centre (Rules of Use)
Business Centre for parents
Computer and internet access
Children outdoor play areas
A range of programmes for our families to enjoy including; art classes, dinner and children’s yoga

[…] Every room in the House has a phone.

[…] Our mission is to offer a comfortable space while you are in Auckland away from your home, during the period your child is receiving treatment at the National Children’s Hospital.

[…] In the House we have a laundry for your use.

You do not need to bring any linen or towels as we provide these for you.

[…] We have 14 bedrooms that are specifically designed for wheelchairs. If you need a room to accommodate a wheelchair, please let us know in advance so we can book one for you.

[…] We offer car parking (one car park per family) at no cost for those staying at the House.

Ronald McDonald House is the caring, responsible face of capitalism that Winston Peters talked about in his speech. The Health bosses at Middlemore hospital have put politically correct ideology before the needs of sick children and their families.

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