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Commissioner Hindering Resolution of Complaints

Monday, August 16, 2004

Health and Disability Commissioner Hindering Resolution of Patients' Complaints

Growing concerns about health providers failing to comply with Health and Disability Commissioner Ron Paterson's Code of Patients' Rights raise serious questions as to the effectiveness of the Commissioner as a watchdog over his own advocacy service.

An article in the Westport News (13.8.04) highlights the problem on the West Coast but concerns reaching me from elsewhere indicate the problem is widespread. Certainly, the response in a case I am following up indicates that the DHB involved, the patient advocacy service and Mr. Paterson are in effect stalling the whole process when it looks like becoming embarrassing for the DHB.

I am currently putting together an article on these matters and would appreciate any information which would help to build up the overall picture as to the effectiveness or otherwise of the complaints system and the roles in it of the Commissioner, the health providers especially DHBs, and the Commissioner's patient advocacy service.


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