Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: No Red Wedding

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  • Phil Lyth, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Why do they persist with that ranking system? Does National do it too?

    Because historically, 'it's always been done that way.' Particularly in the two largest parties, and in the Ministerial list. The ranking is so strong within the Ministry that when two or more Ministers are meeting, they do so in the highest ranking Minister's office.

    That said, Labour, and I think National, are now relaxing to the point of having maybe 1/3 of the caucus unranked. And the Greens as far as I observe are much less hierarchical.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    (Whoops, in reply to Cecelia, and Deborah got there first).
    Osteopathy, for one. There is the more woo-woo branch (some of which works for me, but I'm happy to pay for). The stuff like treatment for the same kind of mobility issues and injuries that you'd send someone to a physio for have been demonstrated in multiple independent studies to also be effective when treated osteopathically. I believe the same goes for chiropractic.

    Since the heath system already has the concept of funding providers for specific treatment types (you won't get funded for cancer treatment at the physio), I can't see why similar lines can't be drawn for treatments that give repeatable and verifiable results, regardless of some of the underlying theories.

    On that basis, I wouldn't expect things like homeopathy or magnet therapy or iridology funded, although I've had good results personally from the first (and think the last is bunk. Yes, irony, I know.)

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    <q>But it might still work. I don’t know. It’s not clear. There appears to be the possibility it does work<q>

    Is that good enough? Is that a reason for ACC and a future Green Party health minister to fund it? (I know they haven't said that, but ...)

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 559 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Someone I know went to a naturopath, and while there was a lot of quackery involved, some of the advice was sensible - give up all foods that one might be sensitive to, drink more water, get more sleep.

    Given they are able to provide much more time than a proper medic and the advice might work (especially for the substantial number of patients who don't have anything much wrong with them).

    Worst case of course is they fail to notice you have cancer and you die.

    If that's prevented (and bringing CAM within the health system should help) then the only problem is a society full of fussy eaters.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5488 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    No Red Wedding

    No, it was more like the Emmy broadcast this avo. Few real surprises when it came to the headline ranks, one serious WTF? moment (let's just hope Shane Jones has more to offer on economic development than handing beneficiaries a shovel and forcing them to move to Christchurch) and a not unpleasant sense of anti-climax.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12332 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to NBH,

    NSAC (strategic screening) set up on NHC's recommendation after its antenatal HIV report, and yes his range of experience and grasp of the system is impressive.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19293 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia, in reply to TracyMac,

    Some of these treatments work for some but they never work for the bulk of people sent to them in the way that proven treatments do. I can sort of believe that a gifted practitioner can kind of use a treatment with a dodgy theory behind it in a way that meshes with the needs of some individual patients. (See, I'm not all Richard Dawkins ...)

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 559 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Oh, and notwithstanding a bitchy tweet from Chris Finlayson (for goodness sake, Minister, do us all a favour and go and do some work), I’m please to see the Arts, Culture and Heritage portfolio given continued prominence.

    "Prominence" is all very nice, but I'd rather see policy with a decent signal-to-noise ratio. (There must be some Labour-supporting writer out there who'd volunteer to de-clutter the managementspeak.) Finlayson and Ardern might want to cash this reality check: However much it goes against every political instinct in their bodies, how about making some commitments with BUDGETS and DEADLINES you can actually be held accountable to?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12332 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Geddis, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    (To be clear: acupuncture theory is unscientific nonsense. But it might still work. I don’t know. It’s not clear. There appears to be the possibility it does work.)

    Or not. But you seem to be backtracking from your earlier confident assertion that "Just to note, acupuncture does help with certain medical conditions." Because of course acupuncture possibly does work ... but that strikes me as a claim that needs verification, rather than a statement that demands refutation.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Cecelia,

    Um, Cecelia ?
    Ever been privy to the looong list of adverse reactions to 'antibiotics'? (In quotes because there are so many....)

    I was born with nervous eczema. The *only* thing that ever truly helped (and - believe you me! Eczemacious sufferers will try pretty well everything!) was learning that I dont tolerate red meat...but that was suggested by an elderly GP...from
    her looong experience...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Cecelia,

    Some of these treatments work for some but they never work for the bulk of people sent to them in the way that proven treatments do.

    ***You wanna hear my family medical people complaining about how some of their most needy people do NOT respond to the 'proventreatments'?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    Well, there's two questions. One is whether is whether acupuncture is better than a placebo; the other is whether acupuncture causes pain relief as effectively as a placebo (which are broadly accepted to relieve pain). The evidence is mixed on the first, and reasonably clear on the second.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    However, I also wonder if the issue isn’t a bit academic, in that it rests on NRT’s claim that the Health portfolio is being freed up for the Greens by leaving it with Annette King, whom he clearly thinks will stand down at the 2014 election. All I’ll say is, we’ve heard that tune before … .

    Yes, and I could be completely wrong. Guess we'll find out if Cunliffe delivers and Labour actually recovers its vote-share to form a government at the next election.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1703 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe,

    FFS: Labour must be as threatened as National by the Green Party for you all to degenerate into a scrap about alternative medicine. Some treatments work for some people, others don’t. The point is do you have a choice of your treatment, or is all medical care to be prescribed by big pharma?
    (I have reason to be very grateful for both conventional medicine and to certain alternative therapies.)

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2877 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Hebe,

    for you all to degenerate into a scrap about alternative medicine. Some

    Sorry?

    That is both a sweeping and ignorant remark-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    The point is do you have a choice of your treatment, or is all medical care to be prescribed by big pharma?

    It's a little more complicated than that. The point is whether certain alternative treatments ought to be funded by the state.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1440 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Cecelia,

    Some of these treatments work for some but they never work for the bulk of people sent to them in the way that proven treatments do.

    “Proven” drugs and vaccines have never worked for everybody. They work on a statistical basis: they are deemed to help enough people to justify their use. But the number of people measurably helped by prescription drugs can be as low as 1%. Plus soooo many drugs are given to patients “off label”, ie. in situations where their suitability and efficacy has not been tested.
    I’m not saying we shouldn’t use drugs, just that it’s a helluva lot more complicated than effective/ineffective or proven/unproven.

    Also good to note that the practice of medicine is not (and can’t be) “scientific” in that it’s not possible to know how any individual patient will respond. Guesswork and trial-and-error are a big part of any medical treatment.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3881 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac, in reply to Lilith __,

    Co-signed.

    As I stated earlier, there are some "alt" therapies out there that work, and are demonstrated to do so in standard studies.

    I'm not trying to ram homeopathy down anyone's throat, but it's had the concept of individual constitutions and heritability of some conditions way before genes were discovered, while modern medicine is only belatedly coming around to the realisation there is no silver bullet that will cure everyone with syndrome X.

    But due to the problem with consistently proving its efficacy in standard testing (and the la-la underpinning theory), I wouldn't want or endorse it being delivered by the NZ public health system.

    What I would appreciate, though, is the "science has all the answers" crowd to refrain from patronising me about my fairly-well-informed health choices. There is room for both antibiotics and rescue remedy in my life, and I am fortunate enough to afford the latter if I choose. Whether I spend that money on a potion or, say, a private counsellor is no-one else's concern.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Hebe,

    FFS: Labour must be as threatened as National by the Green Party for you all to degenerate into a scrap about alternative medicine.

    Woah. It's a bit of a diversion, but I see no scrap or anyone being threatened.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22007 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Geddis, in reply to TracyMac,

    What I would appreciate, though, is the “science has all the answers” crowd to refrain from patronising me about my fairly-well-informed health choices.

    Honest question ... if "science" doesn't have all the answers, what else underpins your "fairly-well-informed health choices"?

    Whether I spend that money on a potion or, say, a private counsellor is no-one else’s concern.

    Has anyone suggested anything different? I think the only contention is whether the public health system should do so.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Geddis, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    Guess we’ll find out if Cunliffe delivers and Labour actually recovers its vote-share to form a government at the next election.

    Well, we ought to find out before then whether King is planning to stand down, no?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    I kind of started this because of a strong distaste for alternative therapies being paid for by the government, as they are now by ACC. I wouldn't vote Green if it was in their manifesto because in my mind it would undermine all the brilliant work they're doing in other scientific/technology based areas: mining, climate change and so on. This might sound barking mad ... just my opinion but, but, I want the Greens to be totally credible to people of a scientific ilk.
    Tracy and Islander, I know what you're saying: "proven" wasn't a good choice of word on my part. I've had terrible experiences with conventional medicine too but in the end I've found that the best treatments have scientific credibility, even if you have to be a very strong advocate for your own health within the medical system. I could give examples but anecdotal evidence is not enough to base a case on.
    This isn't a matter of limiting people's choice but just having certain criteria for public funding. I guess I'm daring to say this on PA and risk being a bit troll-like because I desperately want a Labour/Green government. I've become so emotionally bound in this desire for regime change that anything standing in the way alarms me.

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 559 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan,

    you know what they call alternative medicines that work…medicine

    And thats the core of the issue for me. in order for my to buy into any kind of treatment it has to be PROVEN to work that means blind tests, peer reviews.. all that shit.

    Not it worked for my brothers wifes aunt or it really cleared up MY rash

    This return to nature stuff really irks me. You know what it was like 200 years ago in this wonderful natural medicine world?

    Peoples teeth were really bad and you had about an even chance of making 30.

    I hate big pharma as much as the next guy but not because of the science

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 219 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    Has anyone suggested anything different? I think the only contention is whether the public health system should do so.

    Yup, and considering that the public health system is funded by taxpayers, the idea that it should be shutting down all rivals to big pharma, regardless of individual success with alternative therapy, is quite contentious. Because denying access to government funding really IS a way of shutting it down. I can hardly see it as a great evil on the part of the Green Party, a critical issue undermining their massively progressive agenda in so many other areas, that the have a position on this which is consistent with other aspects of their philosophy. Hell, it's not like there's any other party more dedicated to science as a core principle. At worst, the alternative medicine is not effective.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10457 posts Report Reply

  • The Ruminator,

    Alternative medicines are a worry yes, but I have one or two concerns re the Greens' environmental policies to be honest. The party said it would endorse the Parliamentary Commissioner into the Environment's report into fracking once it was complete. Well it came out and said that fracking was manageable and could be done fairly risk-free.

    This did not result in support from the Greens.

    Since Apr 2013 • 54 posts Report Reply

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