Editor’s Note – March 2023

Welcome to the latest issue. Our sympathies go out to all of our members who have been affected by the shocking weather that parts of New Zealand have endured recently. As our president Jan Pentecost notes in her column this issue, we trust that you all have access to the assistance that you need.

As signalled in our previous issue, we are delighted to bring you in our current edition our promised update on our lobbying efforts and research regarding elderly driving tests.

As Peter Matcham, chair of GP’s Transport National Advisory Group, comments in his article: “[These] … are the most common complaints raised with me as chair of the Transport National Advisory Group.”

In the latest statistics he has been able to access, in New Zealand, drivers over 75 have a death rate from a road traffic accident of 10.4 per 100,000 population.

That is only marginally lower than the highest risk group of 21-24 year olds. And of course older people tend to be more vulnerable when suffering from involvement in a traffic accident.

But as Peter notes, we want to ensure that people can continue to drive for as long as it is safe for them to do so.

The regular tests are supposed to make sure that a fair and just balance is achieved. But this balance is not being struck.

The most common complaint Peter receives regarding these tests is that they “…did not seem to be directly related to driving” and his research on members’ behalf backs this up.
Peter has spoken to Waka Kotahi on behalf of member concerns, and they have confirmed that they are “not able to instruct Health Practitioners on how to care for and assess their patients.”

The other main complaint that GP receives is the lack support prior to taking the test, and the stress and anxiety it causes.

Here our policy is to work with both Waka Kotahi from a funding perspective, and the NZ College of GPs from a service delivery perspective to make sure that those tested understand the relevance and how to prepare for them mentally.

To help build our case Peter hopes to gather a wide range of your experiences through a survey in the upcoming June edition of the GP magazine.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that unless editorials, articles and letters are clearly stated as reflecting Grey Power Federation policy, any such written comments reflect their own views.

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