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Doctors only speak out for patient safety

Doctors only speak out for patient safety

National's Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott says she hopes sense will prevail in the decision over the future of an Auckland surgeon who expressed concerns about a reduced number of beds at Auckland's new hospital.

Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Bruce Twaddle has spoken out about his concern over resourcing restrictions in orthopaedics, and about a loss of beds for the department at the new hospital in particular. A decision is expected today on any disciplinary action.

"Doctors only speak out as a last resort and out of concern for their patients. The Auckland District Health Board would not have to worry about comments being made in the media if it listened to doctors' concerns at the outset.

"There is a provision for freedom of speech in doctors' contracts if they are speaking in the interests of patient safety. This case falls within that provision because the doctor has aired his concerns about the service the hospital is delivering to the public.

"The health board should be listening to what this doctor is saying instead of threatening disciplinary action. I hope that sense will prevail in any decision on this," Dr Scott says.

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