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Inquiry Needed Into Baby Heart Scandal - Greens

Green Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley is calling for a Ministerial Inquiry into how 1300 babies' hearts were removed from babies without their parents consent and stored in a 'heart library' at Greenlane hospital.

Alternatively an inquiry could be undertaken by the Health Select committee, she said.

"There are incredibly serious ethical and informed consent issues that need to be addressed if we are to avoid a repetition of this bizarre and tragic episode.

"After the Cartright inquiry it is almost unbelievable that a New Zealand hospital would have knowingly extracted hearts from babies and stored them for research purposes without first getting permission from their parents," she said.

Ms Kedgley said she was concerned that there was there was a pattern of secrecy and a failure to front up openly to issues of informed consent in many parts of the health sector.

"I am concerned that many people are still not properly informed about, or give their informed consent to have the DNA obtained from blood, taken by a heel prick during a 'Guthrie test', stored in a DNA blood bank in Auckland for an indefinite period of time.

"I am also concerned that the Ministry of Health has never fronted up and told New Zealanders that we all have a unique health identifier called the National Health Index Number, or the uses to which the information attached to the NHI is put," she said.

"Given this pattern of secrecy, the failure of the Ministry of Health to fully inform New Zealanders about sensitive issues or to obtain their informed consent on such important issues, we can have no confidence in the health sector until we have had a full-scale inquiry into the new revelations."


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