Sensible to investigate PPPs for hospitals


Health Minister Tony Ryall has asked the Canterbury District Health Board to investigate Public Private Partnerships for the $600 million rebuild of hospitals in Christchurch.

“This could include design, build and management of buildings, and some non clinical support services – while the DHB maintains full responsibility for delivering public health services,” says Mr Ryall.

“The process will explore whether or not a PPP may suit the Canterbury redevelopment. In the current economic situation, the Government expects DHBs to look outside the square when it comes to achieving value for money in capital projects.

“There is already a wide range of private involvement in the public health service – and similar public private infrastructure partnerships have worked well overseas.”

A decision on any public private partnership would be considered as part of the business case.

Considering PPPs is sensible, reasonable and moderate when so much money is involved and there is such an imperative to reduce debt.

But the PSA doesn’t see it that way:

“The Health Minister talks about future proofing Canterbury’s health infrastructure, but a PPP to build a new hospital, manage it and run non-clinical support services will be a black hole in which to pump tax payers’money,” says Richard Wagstaff.

The PSA is basing its criticism on British examples. It should look closer to home.

Oamaru Hospital is owned and run by a Waitaki District Health Services, a Local Authority Trading Enterprise. It provides publicly funded health services for the people of the district and also offers some private services.

It’s been operating that way for more than 10 years.

The PSA might prefer to have scarce money tied up in bricks and mortar rather than paying wages and providing services. The government is more concerned to ensure that every public dollar is spent wisely and where it would do most good and using PPPs to build hospitals could be one way of doing that.

Pregorexia dangerous for mothers and babies


The pressure to have a perfect body now extends to pregnancy. I feel so strongly about this I am copying the story in full:

Expectant mothers are dieting and exercising to excess as they try to mimic Hollywood stars with svelte figures weeks after giving birth.

British maternity experts have identified an alarming phenomenon called “pregorexia” where women continue to diet throughout pregnancy so they have less weight to lose once their baby is born.

New Zealand experts says pregorexia is real and caused by exposure to images of unrealistically skinny pregnant celebrities, such as Nicole Kidman, and form-fitting maternity clothes. It also jeopardises the health of mother and baby.

Canterbury District Health Board psychiatrist Sue Luty, who specialises in eating disorders and perinatal mental health, said women limiting their calorie intake during pregnancy or overexercising was becoming “a huge issue”.

Women’s views of pregnancy were being distorted by images of celebrities who “miraculously” got back into shape soon after giving birth, she said.

This was unrealistic as the stars usually had personal trainers and many were too thin before their pregnancy, Luty said.

“It’s not normal for women to be skinny throughout pregnancy but they are seeing pictures in the media that say something completely the opposite.”

Luty said pregnant women were more fashion conscious than before and slinky, form-fitting maternity wear which showed off expectant figures was commonplace.

This put more pressure on pregnant women to stay thin, she said.

“A normal pregnancy shape is chunkier and bumpier but women don’t like that look in tight maternity clothes.”

While pregorexia was extreme, dieting during pregnancy was becoming more prevalent even among people who had not experienced eating disorders before, Luty said.

Nutrition Society of New Zealand spokeswoman Jane Coad said there was growing concern about women limiting the food they ate, as a result the nutrients available to their baby, during pregnancy.

Coad said in an attempt to stay slim women often avoided dairy products and meat which contained calcium and iron essential during pregnancy.

“There seems to be a real sense of competition to get back to pre-baby shape as soon as possible which is not realistic and certainly not healthy,” she said.

This is beyond sad, it is dangerous.

What does it say about women that unrealistic expectations of body image allow us to put our own health and that of our babies at risk?

What has happened to that basic instinct which meant mothers put our babies’ needs before our own; that vainity comes before nutruring?

Why do we allow the fashion industry to treat us with contempt by designing and promoting clothes which fit and suit only unnatural body shapes?

We can blame it on the media, but we don’t have to buy in to the pressure to be unrealistically, unhealthily and unattractively underweight.

Real women have breasts and hips and bottoms. Real women have fat. Pregancy changes our body shapes. We need to accept what’s normal and spurn the misogynistic Barbie-doll idea of beauty.

As the sign outside a shop is Spain said:

Somos 3,000 millones de mujeres en el mundo ys sólo 8 son supermodelos.

There are 300,000 million women in the world and only 8 are super models.

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