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Minister Responsible For Waiver Of Standards

30 January 2002

Tupuna Villa patients have been used as pawns in the Hillmorton Hospital, Christchurch, dispute the Health Select Committee heard today, National Disability and Associate Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott said today.

"Director of Mental Health Dr David Chaplow told the committee there was no formal assessment process to define the appropriate placement for the 37 residents of Hillmorton.

"The ward was shut without the Minister of Health approving the closure and these patients were transferred out to rest homes with little consultation. Even though the ward is reopening many patients remain in the community. "This is a clear example of patients being used as pawns in an industrial dispute and it is totally unacceptable.

"The Ministry of Health tells me many of the patients are happy in their new abode, but are they safe, and are the other residents of the rest home safe? These questions can only be answered when these patients are comprehensively assessed and their families and carers have been consulted. "Canterbury District Health Board members are responsible for ensuring all possible steps are taken to ensure patient safety, but they have ignored the assessment process that ensures standards and quality of care are met. "It is rich for a Government that has preached higher standards for Health Minister Annette King to turn a blind eye to this. She must take responsibility when protocols are not followed and she must answer why standards were waived in this case and whether this will now become the norm," Dr Scott said.

Ends

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