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Crisis in A&E departments continuing

Crisis in A&E departments continuing

There has been no let-up on the nationwide crisis in Accident and Emergency departments, says National Party Health spokeswoman Judith Collins.

Ms Collins has obtained a copy of the latest Hospital Benchmark report (June quarter 2004) that again highlights the growing national crisis in emergency care.

She says it is no surprise that the report says ‘there is little change in (DHB A&E) performance rates, and the benchmarks are generally not being met’.

“For three years Labour has not only ignored crises in our hospital A&E departments – they have made them worse.”

“Their new funding formula is forcing after-hours clinics to close, pushing more and more people into already over-crowded A&E departments - making after-hours healthcare problems worse.”

Twelve DHBs failed to meet the benchmark of seeing 80% of Triage 2 patients within 10 minutes, and 16 failed to meet the benchmark of seeing 75% of Triage 3 patients within 30 minutes. Triage 2 and 3 patients are people who are seriously ill. They include people with head injuries, severe trauma, chest pains, or serious fractures.

Ms Collins says alarmingly, A&E departments are so stretched they are unable to see patients fast enough to meet the benchmarks.

“The Minister says the buck stops with her, but she’s dodging accountability, trying to mask the crisis by dumbing-down the benchmarks that hospitals have to meet.

“Turning a blind eye puts people’s health, and in some cases their lives, at risk.”

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