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Cull Report - Cartwright At Last

“The need to implement a one-stop-shop for patients rights as intended in the 1988 Cartwright Report has today been recognised in the Cull Report. Helen Cull’s review of the medical complaint procedures shows the terrible consequences of the previous National government mincing the recommendations of Cartwright,” Alliance Health Spokesperson Phillida Bunkle said today.

“National only implemented a fragmented and legalistic system with unjust delays and derisory compensation that disadvantaged patients who attempted to find a just response to their complaints. Helen Cull is recommending exactly the solution that Sandra Coney and I put to the Cartwright Inquiry and which Cartwright recommended. Now is the time to achieve real patients’ rights. No more Unfortunate Experiments, no more Gisbornes and no more Northlands.”

"This Government is committed to following up on the review of medical complaint procedures with the necessary legislative changes. This time the recommendations will not be sidelined or sabotaged by bureaucratic inertia and resistance, as was the case with the Cartwright report. We do not want another Parry or another Bottrill to slip through undetected.

“Helen Cull QC, has done a good job investigating the procedural failings within the health sector, and has found that human error and medical oversight have been allowed to continue because the current system of patients rights is cumbersome and uncoordinated.

“The current complaint process is exhausting and time consuming. It can take up to three years for a final decision. The situations in Gisborne and Northland highlight the tragic and heart-breaking consequences of sloppy accountability procedures.

“Cull is right to recognise the barriers to patients receiving realistic compensation for medical injury. This was supposed to be achieved through the Complaints Review Tribunal. The crux of Ms Cull’s recommended changes is to finally make that Tribunal accessible as a source of justice for patients as Sandra Coney and I intended.

“It would however in my opinion be a backward step to give the Medical Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal the powers to award damages as Cull suggests. This would lead us straight back to the medical profession being judge and jury of their own actions the very self policing system that the Health Commissioner was set up to avoid.

“I have spoken with many women in Northland who have suffered ill health and ailment as a result of Dr Parry’s treatment, many of whom live in isolated rural communities. Cull is right to recognise that these women’s needs have not been met. Now is the time to make the changes that will address the immediate impact of this systemic failure.

“Many of these women have spent a good deal of time and money to co-operate with the inquiry and have received nothing for their efforts. I believe we owe it to them, to address the problems of the past as well as ensuring that it never happens again.’ Phillida Bunkle said.

Ends


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