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Minister hides behind Privacy Act

Dr Lynda Scott National Associate Health Spokesperson

28 September 2001

Minister hides behind Privacy Act

Health Minister Annette King should front up and allow the release of the full external report on Mark Burton so that the public really knows the failures in this young man's treatment, National's Associate Health spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott said today. The Ministry of Health is hiding behind the Privacy Act so it doesn't have to release the full picture. "I question how seriously Annette King takes mental health issues when her office states she hasn't even seen the report and will need a couple of days to digest it. (The Southland Times 28/9/01)

"Here is the father of a patient pleading with the Ministry of Health to release the full details about Mark's treatment and the gaps in his care. "New Zealanders need to be reassured that other provincial mental health services don't have the same deficiencies as Southland had. I continue to call on Annette King to conduct a full enquiry to ensure at least minimum standards are being met.

"Southlanders and New Zealanders are none the wiser as to how this tragedy can be prevented from happening again anywhere in the country. The 'measures', 'recovery plan' and 'firm regional links' that the Ministry promises are now in place to address the problems at Southland Hospital which contributed to the Burton tragedy, don't give the answers.

"It is irresponsible of the Minister to go to ground on this issue. Annette King must answer the Burton family's questions and assure New Zealanders that the risks of this happening again are minimised," Dr Scott said.

Ends


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