The shameful treatment of Dr Huhana Hickey highlights an ambulance service not fit to keep

Woman wheeled herself to hospital when ambulance couldn’t take her wheelchair

A disabled woman with Covid-19 symptoms and a multiple sclerosis flare-up says she waited 12 hours for an ambulance and when it finally arrived, paramedics couldn’t take her to hospital. So she wheeled herself there.

Dr Huhana Hickey (Ngāti Tāhinga, Whakatōhea), who is a highly regarded disability advocate and sits on a number of regional and national health boards, was admitted to Middlemore Hospital after arrival, and also tested positive for Covid-19.

When she was discharged five days later, Hickey had to wheel herself home because there weren’t any shuttles or taxis available to accommodate her wheelchair.

She said the experience left her feeling “bloody angry”.


I have had the privilege of interviewing Dr Huhana Hickey when I hosted Waatea 5th Estate on Sky TV, she is someone I always listen to and as far as I am concerned is one of the leading voices for the disabled community in NZ.

I have an enormous respect for her intellect, her insight and her role as a voice for a community who get treated poorly by society.

That she had to go through such a humiliating experience by the Ambulance service who were not only late but when they did turn up at midnight couldn’t transport her in her wheelchair.

I have never understood why the Christ our Ambulance service isn’t publicly owned, that would force them to have to consider all members of the community so there aren’t humiliating experiences like this.

The Government must consider nationalising the Ambulance service, dramatically upgrading it and dump the user pays charges.

This is a disgraceful humiliation of a disability advocate who deserves so much better than this treatment. The manner in which the disability community are always left behind in decision making is shameful! News that budget cuts to State Housing will see disability access dumped is an outrageous example of this terrible treatment of the disability community…

The Greens want the Government to rule out cutting back on a programme that makes state houses accessible for people with disabilities in a bid to save money.

A leaked paper from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development warned that state housing agency Kāinga Ora’s borrowing was becoming unsustainable.

The paper suggested suspending programmes to improve heating and removing “accessibility improvements” from Kāinga Ora’s retrofit programme as ways of saving money, as well as leaving remote locations which were high cost.

Green Party spokeswoman for disabled people Jan Logie urged Housing Minister Megan Woods to rule out accepting that recommendation.

…disability can randomly strike us at any time, that we treat people who have been dealt a vulnerable hand in life with such contempt is an indictment on us as a society.


Increasingly having independent opinion in a mainstream media environment which mostly echo one another has become more important than ever, so if you value having an independent voice – please donate here.

If you can’t contribute but want to help, please always feel free to share our blogs on social media

Related Posts