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Authorities Seek Information on NZ Anaesthetist

16 March 2000

Health Authorities Seek More Information on New Zealand Anaesthetist

The Ministry of Health is working with Whangarei Hospital in seeking more information on a New Zealand anaesthetist working in Australia who was found to be re-using a plastic valve when administering anaesthetic

The doctor worked in Whangarei Hospital prior to working in Australia. As far as the Ministry is aware this equipment is not used in Whangarei Hospital and is not widely available in New Zealand.

However the hospital is checking its procedures to ensure appropriate practices were followed .

In Australia, it's claimed the doctor was re-using plastic syringes with a one-way valve that minimised, but did not eliminate, the risk of a backflow of blood. From what the Ministry understands, it should be made clear that the doctor was not re-using needles.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Dr Douglas Lush said under the joint Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists, New Zealand has the same safety standards as Australia.

"The practice that was reported in Australia would not be acceptable in either country."

The Australian authorities are sending the Ministry of Health the report of their inquiry and that will be assessed as quickly as possible.

ENDS

For more information contact: Rebecca Wilson, Media Advisor, ph: 04-496-2067, pager: 025-495-989 Internet address: www.moh.govt.nz/media.html


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