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Health Services Benefit From National Amendment

"The Government back-down on its opposition to a National plan for an advisory committee on epidemiology and quality assurance is a major step forward for improving health care,' National Associate Health spokesperson Paul Hutchison said today.

"A National amendment to the Government's health legislation sets up the new National Health Epidemiology and Quality Assurance Committee.

"The new advisory committee is being welcomed by many people in the health sector. I have had considerable feedback today that it will help improve quality of services and health outcomes," Dr Hutchison said.

"Over the years we've collected statistics on morbidity and mortality, but frequently nothing has been done with them. With 21 District Health Boards the job will be even harder and therefore it is vital to have an inter-linking national body

"There is international recognition that to improve health outcomes there needs to be a national organisation, in touch with health service providers, that can respond to trends in morbidity and mortality. Ideally the Epidemiology Unit should be driven by clinicians and health providers in the field.

"The new committee will ensure that information collected from Mortality Committees is used to monitor quality and improve health outcomes.

"Based on these statistics the committee will recommend the programmes needed to put to midwives, doctors and other health professionals to help lift people's health status.

"We worked hard at the select committee level to get these changes made - it is pleasing that Parliament has seen the benefits of this approach," Dr Hutchison said.

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