Poverty and hospital admissions in Christchurch, 1988-1998
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Good health is not evenly shared by New Zealanders. Numerous studies have shown that different sectors of the New Zealand population have different health outcomes. For example, Maori have higher mortality and morbidity rates than non-Maori (Pomare 1995, Durie 1985). For much of this century the way to improve the health of the population was believed to lie in improving public health, hygiene and sanitation, extending the scope, availability and access to medical care, and continuing the advances in medical knowledge and technology which characterised the achievements of the previous century. Such achievements were documented as lower occurences of epidemic and infectious diseases, falling death rates and improvement in life expectancy. Recent literature, both in New Zealand and overseas, conclude that socio-economic status is one of the most important health determinants. Further still, the literature tells us that hospital admissions are related to an individual’s socio-economic status. Were the literature falls short is in documenting the changes in patterns of hospital admissions through the last 15 years a time of major political upheaval and economic restructuring. Thus using Christchurch as a case study, this thesis examines in detail the link between deprivation and changes in the pattern of hospital admissions throughout the 1990's. We found that the NZDep deprivation dataset is an excellent proxy for health status in most instances. We also found that admissions had increased, especially in the lower socio-economic groups. More importantly, the socio-economic gradient had increased leading us to conclude that the increase in deprivation has been reflected by a increase in hospital admissions.