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Wellington Hospital Investigation Welcomed

O'Connor's Commitment to Wellington Hospital Investigation Welcomed

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today that families of heart patients who have died, and patients who continue to wait for surgery at Wellington Hospital, will welcome the Associate Minister of Health's commitment to investigate why patients are not transferred to the private Wakefield Hospital when there is a lack of capacity in the public system.

"Damien O'Connor yesterday made a commitment to investigate why Wellington Hospital did not refer to the private Wakefield Hospital, heart patients who had their surgery cancelled. Failure to do so has resulted in the death of at least two patients and unacceptable delays in the treatment of many others.

"I have written to the Minister asking him what form the investigation will take. I have also asked him to specify the terms of reference of the investigation, who will carry out the investigation, and when to expect the formal report to be publicly available.

"Wellington Hospital's Cardiac Surgery budget was underspent by $1.7 million in the last financial year, despite theatre space and intensive care beds being available at the nearby Wakefield Hospital. Wakefield Hospital not only had the capacity but could have taken the patients at short notice.

I look forward to discovering the reasons for the apparent refusal to use the private capacity available in the Wellington Region and hopefully a speedy resolution to this ridiculous situation," Mrs Roy said.

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