A Study on the Health of New Zealanders
The health and wellbeing of New Zealanders is regularly captured by the New Zealand Health Survey (NZHS). Essentially a data collection tool, the survey is used by the Ministry of Health to monitor population health and to provide evidence to support health policy and strategy development. The latest survey released unveils the following findings.
For overseas doctors contemplating a move to New Zealand to take up locum doctor jobs New Zealand, the survey data can provide valuable insights into factors impacting the health of New Zealanders across gender, age and population groups. Surveys are available in PDF format from the Ministry of Health website here.
Generally, New Zealanders are living longer as well as longer in good health, that is, both life expectations and healthy expectations are increasing. However, while New Zealand compares well internationally, a number of inequities in health outcomes persist. We maintain relatively high rates of coronary heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease, bowel cancer and self-harm.
A number of these disparities are evident in the key findings from the NZHS results released in August 2017, some of which are as follows:
Adult and child obesity rates continue to increase, with 1 in 3 adults (32%) and 1 in 8 children (12%) being classified as obese. A further 34% of adults and 21% of children are overweight but not obese. Rates for Maori and Pacific Island populations were higher than the average, with 50% of Maori adults and 69% of Pacific adults classified as obese. Further, adults living in deprived areas were 1.5 times as likely to be obese, with children in deprived areas 2.5 times more likely to be obese.
Adult obesity is associated with a long list of health conditions that may present at GP level, including diabetes, heart disease, several common cancers, osteoarthritis, sleep apnoea and reproductive abnormalities.
On the good news front our smoking rate is decreasing slowly to only 600,000 adults now, falling from 20.1% in 2006/7 to 17% in 2014/15. The current smoking rates are declining among the younger adults, but there has been no significant change amidst the adults aged 35 years and over.
Both Maori and Pacific peoples have poorer health and more unmet need for health care. Maori adults have higher rates for most health risks and conditions than non-Maori adults. Maori children also have comparatively high rates for obesity. Pacific adults have higher rates of risky behaviour and poor health than non-Pacific adults. Pacific adults and children have the highest rates of obesity in the country.
The study also reveals the unmet need for GPs & Unfilled prescription due to cost –
14% of adults and 3% of children, do not visit a GP due to the cost, about 37,000 children (3.9%) had a prescription that was not collected due to cost, which is down from 6.6% in 2011/12. About 268,000 adults (7.0%) were reported not collecting a prescription due to cost in the 2016/17 year. The Maori and Pacific adults and children are more than two times as likely to not have collected a prescription due to cost than non-Pacific and non-Maori adults and children respectively, after adjusting for age and sex differences.
Hopefully, this outline of health statistics provides some insight into New Zealand’s health issues for medical professionals considering employment in New Zealand. If you think that you might be interested in knowing more about working within our health system or wish to discuss employment opportunities for locum radiology jobs and general surgery jobs, the team at Ochre Recruitment would love to hear from you.
The author is a reputed doctor, researcher, author and educator. His words of wisdom influence the aspirants to gain locum doctor jobs New Zealand. His communicates in an easy-to-understand way, encouraging and compassionate style. Visit https://www.ochrerecruitment.co.nz/doctors to know more.