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Urgent need for NZ SARS doctor directory

Urgent need for NZ SARS doctor directory

A shortage of the special masks that GP's use in suspected cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome adds weight to an argument for specialist SARS centres, according to the National Party Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

"I've spoken to a number of GP's who just can't get their hands on the special masks needed when dealing with suspected SARS cases," she says.

"Right now, there's the potential for a seriously ill SARS patient to walk into any family doctor's waiting room, but our GP's don't have the medical equipment they need.

"In some areas the masks are already being rationed.

"It's not just the doctor who's at risk, but so are their staff and other patients.

"It's not good enough," Dr Scott says.

"How successful is the Health Ministry's Pandemic Plan when our doctors don't have what they need to contain this virus?

"In New Zealand, we urgently need a directory of centres or doctors who are equipped to deal with suspected SARS cases.

"And members of the public need to know which centres they should go to.

"We should be channeling our limited resources into specialist SARS facilities and be able to put our faith in doctors who are properly equipped.

"In Hong Kong one quarter of all the SARS cases are medical staff, it's crucial that we learn from their mistakes," Dr Scott says.

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