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PM urged to step into hospitals crisis

PM urged to step into hospitals crisis

National Party Leader Bill English is calling on the Prime Minister to step in and take action over the growing crisis in our country's accident and emergency departments.

His comments follow reports of several patient deaths and misdiagnosed cases and of stressed staff in hospital emergency departments throughout New Zealand.

"The Government's had four years to do something about this problem, but every district health board is still running up large deficits and turning patients away," says Mr English.

"And this cold snap is only going to make the problem worse as more elderly people succumb to respiratory illnesses and front up to hospitals already severely under pressure.

"Helen Clark expressed shock this week at the events surrounding the death of a woman who had waited three hours in Wellington Hospital's emergency department with meningococcal disease.

"I share the Prime Minister's concern, but now that she's been presented with more evidence she should step in and investigate what is going on.

"In similar circumstances, a previous National Government initiated an independent inquiry into patient safety at Christchurch Hospital which brought about significant changes in emergency care.

"Helen Clark needs to take action instead of allowing her Health Minister to blame the hospitals.

"Our hospitals will continue to experience problems while the Government channels extra funding away from hospitals and into politically correct programmes in primary care.

"It's time the Prime Minister took responsibility before public confidence in our hospitals is further undermined," says Mr English.

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