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Commissioner Asked To Investigate Ascot Case

New Zealand Labour Party

Labour health spokesperson Annette King has asked the Health and Disability Commissioner to investigate the care Shirleen Casey received at Ascot Hospital in Auckland.

"I have also written to Ascot Hospital. Ascot's chairman Richard Fisher told my staff that a complaint could only be investigated if it was in writing. But his own complaints policy clearly states that complaints can be received in person or by phone.

"Mrs Casey attempted to lay a complaint on three separate occasions. She complained to the Health Funding Authority, which told her to contact Ascot. Ascot, instead of registering her complaint, told her to contact the surgeon. She complained to the surgeon, and received no satisfaction. He told her she was imagining the problem.

"Ascot has failed to meet its obligations under its contract with the HFA, which includes the requirement for Ascot to notify patients of the formal complaint procedures. As a result, Shirleen Casey has so far been denied her right to an investigation to establish why she suffered nerve damage following an operation on her hip.

"Mr Fisher says Parliament is an inappropriate place to raise a medical matter. But it was the only avenue left for Mrs Casey because Ascot failed to meet its obligations.

"The Minister of Health Wyatt Creech says the appropriate safeguards are in place in all contracts with hospitals receiving public funding. But Ascot had no medical service record when it was awarded the orthopaedic contract by the HFA, and the HFA has failed to take adequate steps to monitor the performance of Ascot.

"There now must be an inquiry into surgical practices at Ascot Hospital," Annette King said.

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