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NZ hospitals must be prepared for SARS

NZ hospitals must be prepared for SARS

New Zealanders need an assurance that our hospitals can deal with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome patients and prevent the spread of the disease, says National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

"It is shocking that Auckland Hospital staff are so concerned the hospital is not prepared to deal with SARS patients they have been forced to go public to get some action.

"Doctors and nurses are saying they feel vulnerable because they don't have the resources to assist patients and are at risk of catching the disease themselves.

"How can Annette King say she has "every confidence" in the officials dealing with SARS when Auckland hospital does not have an adequate negative pressure room to deal with SARS patients?

"Anyone who is not in the health sector could tell you that a small extractor fan crudely sealed with duct tape is not a good enough system to isolate patients and this disease.

"The Minister needs to convince New Zealanders that our health system is not third world and ensure that Auckland and other hospitals are adequately funded to assist SARS patients.

"Seeing how fast this disease has spread in other countries, if it arrives here we need to be prepared to deal with it and stop the spread immediately," Dr Scott said.

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