O'Sullivan fumes after Northland deaths

  • Northland

Dr Lance O'Sullivan has unleashed a scathing attack on NZ's health system following an outbreak of the disease meningitis which has killed six people nationwide, three of which occurred in Northland.

O'Sullivan says he is fed up with seeing brown kids dying because of the health system.

O’Sullivan shared his views on Facebook along with an article of a Northland mother whose daughter died from the disease meningococcal.

“Raging this morning as I read the news and listen to my favourite radical prophet Bob Marley” it reads.

“I get f***** off to see another brown kid in NZ dying from a f***** up health system.”

Speaking to Te Kāea, O’Sullivan says the Northland outbreak is a symptom of a wider issue- that the health system is "broken for Māori".

"What's happened in Northland is a symptom of a chronic problem, a chronic disease if you like, which is massive under-performance from the health system for Māori.  It's just another boil and festering wound that's showing up as to the problem."

On Facebook, O'Sullivan says in his work around New Zealand he had seen the disparities of treatment for Māori and Pacific children who were neglected or misdiagnosed by health professionals and over-represented for diseases such as rheumatic fever.

"Things need to change and so, what are those solutions you might ask?  Well, how about a Minister for Māori Health, a Minister for Māori well-being?  Put us in charge and we'll do a better job."

A spokesperson for the Minister of Health David Clark says tackling inequities in health is a priority.  Labour's Māori caucus agrees.

Associate Minister of Māori Development Willie Jackson says, "There are many issues that our Māori caucus needs to address.  We have heard their concerns and we'll be looking to address that in our next budget."

Te Arawhiti Minister Kelvin Davis says, "It does concern us and that's what this government is trying to do is to reduce the disparities between Māori and the rest of the population."

O’Sullivan says more action needs to be taken.

“Every board of DHBs, PHOs and health organisations around the country nauseate me with their endless commitment to health equity.  ‘Māori health disparities is a priority for us’ - that’s b*******t, because it’s not a priority, they’re just talking about it and not doing anything.”