How to Build Consensus and Collaboration
Updated: Oct 23, 2021
During the Accident Compensation Commission's start-up during the 1970s, we quickly realised that claims for back injuries cost the country millions of dollars (I was responsible for setting up ACC's sports and recreation injury and rehabilitation programmes). At the time, there were a thousand and one therapies, all claiming success for treating back pain, but the problem was getting worse - not better. So, what did we do?
ACC became the sponsor of just about every health-related annual conference for the next few years - physiotherapy, sports medicine, occupational health, occupational therapists, and more. For example, we sponsored an international orthopaedic surgery conference. Guess what the themes were? Right, you guessed it: Back Pain and Back Injuries! I attended every one of these conferences.
Every health professional with an opinion about the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of back injuries had at least one opportunity to present their ideas, research and treatment methods before their peers. It was the duty of their peers to respectfully and thoroughly dissect and challenge their case. But, of course, no conference of this kind ends without agreement which becomes the conference's statement of consensus and their call to action.
While each of these organisations did their thing at the "front line" after these conferences, ACC set up and ran a national awareness campaign to support their efforts: "Bend your knees and not your back" and "Don't use your back like a crane". In addition, we hired weight-lifting champion Precious McKenzie and the terrifying professional wrestler Len Ring to travel the country, mainly teaching young men how to lift safely at work. Some of you may still remember this national safety campaign.
This strategy was effective: back injury claims, while still costly to ACC, levelled off, and there were improvements in treatment and rehabilitation, including surgical techniques. So why don't we do something similar with COVID-19?
Is our leadership building consensus or treating us like sheep?
Instead of building consensus among health professionals, they crush dissent and have created an unthinking flock of five million, governed by fear, coercion and misinformation. They remind health professionals almost daily that not toeing the line may draw censure by their professional association. Health professionals who have not yet had the jab are being isolated then picked off, one by one, with threats that they will lose their job if they don't comply. Some have already lost their jobs.
Main Stream Media (MSM) is now the Government's attack dog, savaging any health professional who questions the official narrative. Here is the most recent example of several:
And here as well:
Before you go any further, here is what Dr Canaday actually said. Please judge for yourself whether or not he is a misinformed and deluded quack (after taking in all of the evidence you might agree that he is indeed misinformed - that is your right):
We may have been a Team of Five Million a year ago, but we are fast becoming a divided, them versus us society.
The current strategy is not working. It is time the panel of self-selected experts running the show for the last 1.5 years admitted they had failed those they serve and wasted 70 billion precious dollars that we don't have. Instead, these failed experts are awarding themselves accolades for their success!
Few of these experts have any front line clinical experience, or not for years and some have credibility issues when it comes to showing the rest of us how to be healthy. Yet they call themselves the only source of information; they tell front line doctors how to do their jobs which is outrageous.
On March 14 last year, Prime Minister Ardern told reporters at a press conference in Rotorua:
“Do feel free to visit covid19.govt.nz – otherwise dismiss anything else. We will continue to be your single source of truth. When you see those messages [on social media], remember that unless you hear it from us, it is not the truth.”
Where are the public health messages? If New Zealanders were healthy, the pandemic would be of little concern. We are one of the fattest nations in the world. Reducing obesity is an obvious measure but nothing; there has been barely even a peep about obesity during the last 1.5 years.
Families, partners, friends and workmates are being pitched against each other, relationships stressed and some broken and ended. What is happening reminds me of the divisions within society during the 1981 Springbok Tour of New Zealand, only it's worse and I can see no end.
People are fearful: each time I post an article like this one, I get many emails and even phone calls of support, but very few people are willing to make a public comment about what I write. This is both very sad and disturbing. People are so afraid they are self-censoring.
What is fast developing is not the kind of society I signed up for, nor the kind I want to leave for my grandchildren. We need consensus and team-building: not them versus us.
The people running the show need to step aside as the first step in building consensus.
So, how do we get out of this mess?
I propose that the Government sponsors COVID response conferences open to every health professional and does so with urgency.
Do the same with every community support and health association, including religious organisations, mental health support, rural and community service organisations, sports and recreation, leadership programmes, aged care, poverty services and so on. Everyone - we are all in this together.
Extend this to the commercial sector; employers, unions, retailers like the bike industry and more.
The challenge to put to them, as a condition of funding, is this: "What can your organisation and the people it represents do to improve the health and fitness of all New Zealanders and, more specifically, with regards to reducing morbidity and fatalities from COVID-19 and its variants?"
Beam the world's leading experts into the conferences via Zoom, or fly them in if we can.
The plan is to encourage innovation, to share ideas no matter how far-fetched, relevant or irrelevant, then respectfully collaborate to work it all out, and come to an agreement, thus building consensus among the "Team of Five Million" and to get everyone doing their bit, no matter how modest, to get us out of this mess.
We get out of this mess by addressing 1,001 root cause factors such as stress, malnutrition, poverty, vitamin D deficiency, polypharmacy, inactivity and obesity.
That's for prevention and for toughening up a weak and vulnerable population. Now, let's bring together every front line doctor, scientist, academic and health bureaucrat to explore the plethora of prophylaxis and treatment options/protocols circulating. Let's have our doctors agree about the most effective prophylactic and treatment protocols for New Zealand doctors to employ to protect our most vulnerable. For example, there is a chasm of opinion about the safety and effectiveness of Ivermectin. Well, why don't we get opposing scientists and doctors to present their cases before their peers, debate the evidence and come to a consensus? The current situation has paper-pushing health bureaucrats and ivory tower academics telling frontline doctors what they can and can't do without discussion. We can and must do better.
Let's beam front line doctors like Dr Brian Tyson into these conferences so his detractors can challenge his protocols and evidence and do so before their peers. This is how we build consensus and how we come up with a plan.
PS: Craig Kelly is a controversial character who is known not to mince his words. It is easy for people to dismiss an interview like this because the interviewer is a controversial person: listen to the message and not so much the messenger, please.
Once this process is complete and there are 1,001 strategies proposed to deal with the 101 factors, including vaccines, it is then over to the Government to say, "Go for it - let it rip, and this is how we will assist!"
How can the Government assist?
The first thing it must do is stop spreading fear and misinformation, and dividing our country.
I propose that the Government runs an over-arching health and fitness campaign to support community activities. Examples include the "Have a Go" campaign of the late '70s and the "Women on the Run" programme of the mid-'80s. These campaigns were highly successful at encouraging participation in sports and recreation. The Government could even give every man, woman and child $100 each to spend on joining a sports club or, say, swimming lessons.
It can set up a Financial Grants Scheme, similar to the Health Sponsorship Council, which closed down several years ago. The Health Sponsorship Council enabled many community health programmes like Smokefree to thrive.
These are far better ideas than the current unsustainable singular, one-size-fits-all solution which is about as useful as flushing another $70 billion down the toilet (in my opinion).
There are many more things the Government and and must do, such as:
Take taxes off locally grown fresh produce and
Introduce a Sugar Tax.
Invest in "Fence at the top of the cliff health care", such as school dental health services and stop just pouring more billions into trying to clean up the carnage at the bottom.
Of course, the collaborative conferences will come up with 1,000 other great ideas.
Call to Action!
Ask everyone, no matter their stance on vaccines, lockdowns and the rest, this question:
"Where are the conferences?"
Ask and ask again. Ask your leaders, ask the Opposition Parties, ask your MP, ask your doctor, ask the academics, ask the radio host, ask everyone. If enough of us ask the question, perhaps we will not just get an answer; we will get the conferences.
Misinformation, Disinformation or Information - What is it?
Whenever you hear the word, "misinformation" being uttered ask,