Patient safety must be paramount - Cullen
Minister for Accident Insurance Michael Cullen is calling for common sense to prevail in the wake of the Northland rescue helicopter incident involving a three year old burns victim.
During Question Time today, Dr Cullen assured the House, on the basis of the facts presented to his office, that there had been no delay in the provision of either initial treatment to stabilise the injured child or air transport for further treatment.
"However, I am very concerned that the incident has highlighted an apparent breach in common sense in which patient safety must always be paramount.
"That practice requires that if there is an alternative aircraft in the vicinity of a seriously injured patient then the ambulance control room has the discretion to seek authorisation to use that aircraft.
Dr Cullen says he is not particularly interested in the politics surrounding the contracting issues of the Northland Rescue service.
"As far as I am concerned there is only one issue here and that is that patient safety.
"It is totally unacceptable for any patient to suffer or for their family to think that they had suffered due to system failures or lack of common sense.
"I have been assured that ACC is continuing to work with both the ARHT and the Northland Emergency Services Trust to come to an arrangement which satisfies the needs of Northland and the contractual obligations of ACC," said Dr Cullen.