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Minister has no answers to A&E crisis

Dr Lynda Scott National Health Spokeswoman

6 May 2004

Minister has no answers to A&E crisis

Health Minister Annette King has no answers to a worsening safety crisis at accident and emergency departments, says National's Health spokeswoman, Dr Lynda Scott.

Last year's Ministry of Health quarterly performance scorecard shows that A&E departments of 17 out of the 21 District Health Boards' are not up to scratch.

Dr Scott says the Minister is using every avenue to stop the latest report being released.

"The Minister's got to come up with better than that after numerous reports of seriously compromised patient safety around the country:

- Canterbury DHB and Palmerston hospital have A&E patients banked up in corridors, sometimes several times a week in Christchurch.

- Hutt Valley Hospital Board chairman describes their A&E as the hospital's weakest link.

- Staff at Wairau hospital says their A&E is running on the bones of its backside.

- A top Wellington A&E specialist resigns in the face of medical incidents.

- Waikato hospital says its A&E should have been upgraded years ago.

"This crisis was exposed only because a DHB accidentally released the scorecard.

"It takes a great deal of time and money to collate this data, but what is the point if no action is taken on clearly identified problems.

"It is time for the Minister to come clean. The public needs reassurance that the A&E crisis will be addressed," says Dr Scott.

Ends

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