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Time to give A&E patients a fair go

Judith Collins
National Party Health Spokeswoman

13 December 2004

Time to give A&E patients a fair go

National's Health spokeswoman, Judith Collins, says more lives will be lost if the Government doesn't sort out medical staffing at accident and emergency departments.

Her comments come as an inquest is held into the death of a young Wellington woman after a registrar and then two junior doctors failed to treat her pneumonia.

This follows a similar incident at Wellington Hospital's A&E where a woman died of meningitis after an unacceptably long wait for treatment.

Ms Collins says it's absolute madness to leave junior doctors to deal with emergency situations without the support of senior staff.

"Until this mentality of leaving junior doctors without adequate supervision changes in A&E departments, patients will continue to die.

"I will be urging the Ministry of Health's working party looking into accident and emergency departments to recommend that all A&E departments are staffed by at least one experienced specialist as well as experienced GPs. This will ensure that junior doctors get the supervised experience they need without costing patients' lives.

"District Health Boards look on their A&E departments as poor cousins and that has to change.

"The Minister has had five years to address the issue. There is always plenty of money for bureaucracy and politically correct schemes. It's about time patients got a fair go," says Ms Collins.


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