Alf notes with great admiration the efforts of Labour MP Louisa Wall to turn lots more blokes into sheilas and lots more sheilas into blokes.
Ms Wall, for constituents who might have forgotten, is the Labour bint who introduced the legislation that legalised same-sex marriage.
Now she is banging on about the transgender community needing more support than it is getting from the Government.
More particularly, she wants taxpayers to cough up for more transgender folk to get the surgery they crave to turn them from one gender to the other.
She said more than 60 people were on the waiting list for sex reassignment surgeries and action needed to be taken.
“These are people who are wanting access to what is a medical procedure, who can’t in New Zealand because we don’t have the surgeons.”
So it seems Ms Wall’s demands are a bit more complicated than it seemed at first blush.
First, she wants more money for more surgery.
But second, she wants more surgeons trained in the delicate art of putting nuts where a fanny used to be and vice versa.
She brought two considerations into play – some sort of quota we apparently have for this sort of carry-on and, of course, the Human Rights Act.
Ms Wall said the Government was supposed to fund three male-to-female operations and one female-to-male operation every two years, but none had been done for three years.
She said New Zealand needed to recognise discrimination on gender identity in its human rights legislation.
Ms Wall said the only legal barriers still facing New Zealand’s gay community targeted the transgender and intersex people.
But wait. Does the legislation need changing too?
Ms Wall said under the current Human Rights Act it was illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation but gender identity should be added.
“The Crown’s position is that it’s already in legislation under the definition of sex, but for the community they actually want to see definitions that they think describe them in our legislation.”
Ms Wall said New Zealand still had a long way to go to meet the needs of the transgender and intersex community.
Alf draw’s attention to this news item:
New research shows nearly 40 percent of patients who need hip and knee operations in at least two district health boards are not getting them because of budget restrictions.
The study, published in The New Zealand Medical Journal, which looked at Northland and Hawke’s Bay, found the drive to cut wait times has left 36 percent of patients with moderate to severe pain and disability untreated.
But he said not enough was known about the consequences.
“That’s really great that we’ve reduced waiting times, but … 36 percent of people are missing out because they won’t get their surgery done within that time-frame … we just want patients and their treating physicians to be aware of that.”
Christchurch surgeon Philip Bagshaw, chairman of the Canterbury Charity Hospital Trust, said focusing on wait times rather than waiting lists was “a great way of hiding the scale of the problem”.
“It’s become smoke and mirrors. They’ve created a self-fulfilling prophecy, so they say the waiting list is only six or four months, but that’s because they only allow that many people onto the waiting list.”
Mr Bagshaw said other debilitating conditions, from cataracts to varicose veins, haemorrhoids and hernias, simply did not get done in the public system – at least until there are serious and costly complications.
Oh dear. These poor buggers would have to put up with this for even longer – it seems – while Ms Wall screws more money out of the system for transgender ops.
Here’s another example:
Frustration, sadness and distress are emotions shared by three Dunedin woman waiting for breast reconstruction surgery.
The women are among 40 Southern District Health Board patients on the waiting list for breast reconstruction, figures released under the Official Information Act show.
One woman is Jenny Sherman (55). She has been on the waiting list since December 2012 after having a mastectomy in September 2011 and then chemotherapy.
Ms Sherman said she was in a good frame of mind after the mastectomy and chemotherapy, but in December had become ”depressed and frustrated” and had lost patience waiting for surgery. .
”I think it is up to the health board to make the decision to help us.”
It saddened her that 40 people were on the waiting list.
”It’s 40 people who are in limbo and can’t get on with their lives.”
She had put holidays on hold and was saving her annual leave for the six weeks needed for the surgery and recovery.
She hoped it would happen this year,”I’d be super depressed if it doesn’t happen and I’m really trying to be a healthy, optimistic person.”
The reconstruction was an essential part of the healing process and she hated wearing ”horrible and frustrating” prostheses.
The hospital system abounds with these sorts of stories, no matter how hard your wonderful government strives to provide everyone with the surgery they need.
The question for Ms Wall is how priorities would be set if she became Minister of Health tomorrow (a dismal prospect, by the way, because it would imply we had a Labour Government and this may well have old Alf pressing for medical aid to hasten his departure from this mortal coil).