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Dunne: Secret investigation a farce

Media Statement
For immediate release
Friday, 7 November, 2003

Dunne: Secret investigation a farce

A Government investigation into cardiac deaths of Wellington Hospital waiting list patients that was so secret that the Associate Minister didn't know about it was simply not good enough, United Future leader Peter Dunne said today.

"Or perhaps it was just a two-minute phone around, because it certainly doesn't strike me as a fully fledged investigation of a very serious health issue.

"Either way, the public has been short-changed on this," he said.

Mr Dunne said he would be meeting with Mr O'Connor next week "and after that we will be in a better position to make a decision on what is required next".

The investigation obviously hadn't shed any light on the available capabilities of private hospitals such as Wellington's Wakefield Hospital either, or one would have expected the Ministry to today have some idea of private hospital capacity, he said.

In Parliament on Tuesday, in response to probing from Mr Dunne, Associate Health Minister Damien O'Connor undertook to investigate waiting list deaths at Wellington Hospital while capacity went unused at nearby Wakefield Hospital. Yesterday he announced that an investigation had already been done.

"The so-called investigation and everything surrounding it and the Government's attitude, reeks of a lip-service only approach to public-private partnerships in health.

"I again call upon the Government to start putting people ahead of ideology and get over its private health phobia, because it is costing lives."


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