National’s Health Discussion Document explores policies that seek to address health issues faced specifically by women and improve their care, National’s Health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.
“Women need care for a range of different health issues, from pregnancy and childbirth to rare gynaecological cancers and, while both women and men can suffer from breast cancer, it’s substantially more common in women.
“We want women who experience breast cancer to have access to compassionate care which gives them dignity and restores their confidence. Right now, women who have a mastectomy aren’t always offered a reconstruction, or face a long wait for that to happen.
“Not all women will want to have a reconstruction, but we’re asking whether it should be offered routinely as a part of cancer care so that those who do want it can access it in a timely way and, where possible, have a reconstruction at the same time as their mastectomy.
“We also want to ensure women can access high quality maternity care across New Zealand, whether they’re in Auckland or Southland. Part of that can be done through ensuring community midwives are remunerated fairly for the amazing work they do.
“We’re proposing addressing income equity claims by independent midwives in line with the recommendations of the Co-Design Report commissioned by the previous National Government, which this Government has so far failed to take up.
“For women who have been treated using surgical mesh, there are sometimes mild or even debilitating complications which impact on quality of life. It’s effective for many patients, but we’ll establish a National Mesh Register to track the incidence of adverse events. The current Government pledged to establish one, but it has failed to deliver.
“National’s committed to ensuring women young and old have high-quality healthcare available to them, whether it’s part of their cancer treatment, when they become a mum, or after a gynaecological surgery.
“National will make health a priority.”