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Kedgley calls for speed and stats

29 April 2001

Kedgley calls for speed and stats

Green MP Sue Kedgley strongly supports the Cull Report's recommendations on adverse medical event processes - but says it does not go far or fast enough.

She backed the report's suggestions of a "one stop shop" so that patients know where to go with medical error complaints, and for increased powers for the Health and Disability Commissioner.

But she called on the government to commit to allocating resources to implement the recommendations in the upcoming Budget, and provide for better reporting of medical errors.

"If they stick to the timetable outlined in the report, it will be too late for next year's Budget."

Many of the issues covered in the report had been covered in the Cartwright Report in 1988," she said. "That was 13 years ago. We don't want these recommendations to gather dust in the same way."

Ms Kedgley called for better reporting of a medical errors, which, she said, were "grossly underreported".

"The Minister of Health does not collect figures of the number of patients who suffer from what is euphemistically called an adverse event or medical misadventure.

"But preliminary figures from Professor Peter Davis, who has been researching this area, suggests that they might about the same as Australia's figures, which are between 10 and 16 per cent of patients treated.

"That works out at about 66,000 patients every year. And based on Australian estimates up to 9000 people who could be disabled from the treatment they receive from a health professional.

"Alarming though these figures sound, they could be conservative because two-thirds of New Zealand doctors in a recent international survey said hospitals discourage reporting of medical errors.

"This is horrifying when we consider not only the personal tragedy each of these statistics represents, but the cost in extra treatment and surgery - when an estimated half of all medical errors are prevented.


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