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Haemophilia Foundation of New Zealand

23rd May 2005

Haemophilia Foundation of New Zealand

Ministry of Health excludes key evidence from Bad Blood compensation decision

The Ministry of Health has ignored a Haemophilia Foundation request to be included in a Working Party tasked with providing key evidence in a fact-finding exercise to determine whether people with haemophilia and hepatitis C should be compensated.

Last month, officials at the Ministry of Health agreed to consider a submission from the Haemophilia Foundation of New Zealand (HFNZ). The submission outlined the case for compensation and proposed a settlement which would provide support for those affected and their families.

On receiving the submission, the Ministry of Health immediately set up a Working Party to establish the facts and present them to Crown Law. However, the Director-General of Health, Dr Karen Poutasi, has ignored the Haemophilia Foundation’s request to be included in the process, even though the Foundation holds specialist and detailed knowledge of the issue in New Zealand and overseas.

Steve Waring, who has haemophilia and hepatitis C, said, “It alarms me that the Ministry is happy to make any decision based on only partial information, particularly one that affects so many New Zealand families so dramatically. HFNZ has access to first-hand, up-to-the-minute information about the health status and related circumstances of our members, the bulk of which is not known elsewhere. We also have a great deal of documentation which could shed some light on how this disaster happened, and I would expect the Ministry of Health to be eager to use that understanding to right wrongs and avert future disasters.

“Ultimately, if the Ministry’s verdict does not include the expert knowledge that HFNZ can contribute, our members are unlikely to feel that their issues have been considered fairly and thoroughly. In that instance, individual litigation cases will have to continue and this exercise will not only have been a waste of public resources, but will have put a huge dent in our members’ already dwindling confidence in the Government to do the right thing.

HFNZ President Dave McCone added, “Quite clearly, this is simply another public relations exercise. The Ministry’s objective is to humor us, rather than to seriously consider the catastrophic impact this has had on so many Kiwi families and individuals. Is the Government hoping that if they hold us off for long enough the infected people will die quietly and, with them, their claims for justice?”

The Ministry of Health is hoping to reach a final decision in August this year.

ENDS


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