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Gisborne Hospital investigation

Health Minister Annette King today announced that Health and Disability Commissioner Ron Paterson will carry out an independent investigation into concerns about patient care and management practices at Gisborne Hospital.

Mrs King said she welcomed the decision by Mr Paterson to carry out the investigation.

"I originally asked the Director General of Health to arrange an investigation of quality and safety issues at Gisborne Hospital when concerns were first brought to my attention. That investigation would have been conducted under the Hospitals Act.

"But the commissioner can bring a wider focus to bear as he is able to investigate any issue related to patient rights under the Code of Health and Disability Consumers' Rights, which is, of course, extremely relevant for the people of the Gisborne region."

Mrs King said that the Ministry of Health had already provided the commissioner's office with the detailed concerns that she had received from the New Zealand Nurses Organisation about quality assurance and safety at Gisborne Hospital.

"There was always a possibility that the commissioner would call for his own investigation, based on those concerns, and, of course, there will now be no separate investigation by the Director General of Health. The Commissioner will receive assistance from the ministry if it is asked for, and I am confident he will also receive the full cooperation of Tairawhiti Healthcare and its staff."

Mrs King said she understood Mr Paterson's investigation was likely to begin with a site visit in the week beginning July 17.

Attached: Terms of reference



As a result of allegations concerning standards of patient care and quality assurance systems at Gisborne Hospital, the Health and Disability Commissioner, Ron Paterson, is to commence an independent inquiry under section 37(2) of the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994.

The following matters will be investigated to determine whether any action by Tairawhiti Healthcare Limited or any individual health care providers at Gisborne Hospital has breached patients’ rights under the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights:

 Operating theatre protocols and compliance with such protocols between October 1999 and June 2000;

 Quality assurance systems at Gisborne Hospital including incident reporting protocols and systems;

 The handling of incidents reported by staff between October 1999 and June 2000, including the issue of re-use of anaesthetic syringes;

 Allegations of inadequate standards of patient care in surgical and intensive care services in April and May 2000.

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