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Don't gag the whistleblowers!

Don't gag the whistleblowers!

Green MP, Sue Kedgley is calling on the Minister of Health to step in to protect leading orthopaedic surgeon Bruce Twaddle's right to speak out on issues of public safety.

She also wants the Health Minister to reprimand the Auckland District Health Board for undermining the medical profession's code of ethics and right to freedom of speech.

Ms Kedgley said she believed Mr Twaddle's case was a hugely important test for health care in New Zealand. "When a leading surgeon is reprimanded for speaking the truth it is an extremely serious state of affairs," Ms Kedgley said.

"This is the sort of thing we would expect to see in a totalitarian state, not in a New Zealand hospital," Ms Kedgley said.

Ms Kedgley said the Minister of Health is entitled under Section 32 of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act to issue directions to any DHB.

"She needs to make it clear to every health professional in New Zealand that they are entitled to advocate for patient safety, and will be protected when they do so.

"If she does not, she will be accepting a climate of fear and repression in our hospitals. Already we have DHB chairs trying to muzzle board directors."

"The message health professionals will take from this latest incident is that they will risk their careers if they speak the truth and voice public concerns about the parlous state of healthcare in New Zealand," said Ms Kedgley.

"This is a frightening state of affairs."

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