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Health & Disability Commissioner Tauranga Inquiry


Health and Disability Commissioner launches Tauranga inquiry

Health and Disability Commissioner Ron Paterson today initiated an inquiry into the quality of care provided to five patients by Tauranga surgeon Ian Breeze. The inquiry has been prompted by new complaints to the Commissioner's Office.

The inquiry will also assess any further complaints received about Mr Breeze and investigate any treatment that appears to have been substandard.

Two earlier cases - relating to the care provided by Mr Breeze to Mrs Margaret Mackey in December 1999 and during 2000, and to Mr Barry Baker in December 2000 - are currently being reassessed and, if re-opened, will form part of the inquiry.

The inquiry will also assess any further complaints received about Mr Breeze and investigate any treatment that appears to have been substandard.

The inquiry will be undertaken as a priority in the New Year. My intention is to undertake a timely and thorough investigation that examines any individual and system issues raised, Mr Paterson says. The inquiry will consider any relevant information held by Mr Breeze's employers, the Medical Council, and ACC.

Terms of Reference The Terms of Reference for the inquiry are:

I. Did Mr Ian Breeze provide services of an appropriate standard to:
(1) Patient A, on whom Mr Breeze performed cholecystectomy surgery at Tauranga Hospital in late November 1999, and who developed post-operative complications.
(2) Patient B, on whom Mr Breeze performed bowel surgery at Tauranga Hospital in early February 2000, and who developed post-operative complications.
(3) Patient C, on whom Mr Breeze performed cholecystectomy surgery at Tauranga Hospital in February 2000, and who developed post-operative complications.
(4) Patient D, on whom Mr Breeze performed a repair of hernia operation at Norfolk Hospital in August 2000, and who developed subsequent complications.
(5) Patient E, on whom Mr Breeze performed a laparoscopic cholecystectomy at Norfolk/Southern Cross Hospital in April 2002, and who developed post-operative complications.

II. Did Tauranga Hospital, Norfolk Community Hospital and Norfolk/Southern Cross Hospital take adequate steps to ensure that Mr Breeze was competent to practise surgery and to respond to any concerns about Mr Breeze's practice?

Background information Under the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994, the Commissioner's jurisdiction to investigate complaints is limited to matters occurring after 1 July 1996. Any complaints relating to Mr Breeze's care prior to 1 July 1996 may be forwarded to the New Zealand Medical Council at PO Box 11-649, Wellington (phone 0800 286 801). Any complaints relating to Mr Breeze's care from 1 July 1996 onwards may be forwarded to the Health and Disability Commissioner at PO Box 1791, Auckland (phone 0800 11 22 33).

Under section 35(2) of the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994, the Commissioner may commence an investigation either in response to a complaint made to the Commissioner, or on the Commissioner's own initiative.

No Further Comment The Commissioner does not intend to make any further comment on the inquiry during the course of his investigation.

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