Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Minister dismisses deadly outbreak as routine even

Minister dismisses deadly outbreak as routine event

It is shocking that the Minister of Health is dismissing as a routine event the outbreak of the deadly GRSA superbug at Wellington Hospital's neonatal unit which has infected almost 40 people and been responsible for the deaths of several neonatal babies, Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

In response to questioning in Parliament, Annette King said the outbreak was a routine event which happened in hospitals around the world. The minister said she was not concerned that Capital and Coast Health District Health Board had kept the outbreak under wraps for six months, and had not alerted her to the outbreak until last week.

"Given the seriousness of this particular outbreak, Capital and Coast should have alerted the Ministry of Health and the Minister of Health, as well as all the parents involved, and kept them fully involved from the outset, instead of concealing it from them for six months," Ms Kedgley says.

It is astonishing that the hospital had failed to inform parents with babies at the neonatal unit about the existence of the aggressive superbug until last week, or even to inform parents such as Maree Hood that their baby had died from an infection caused by the superbug.
"The Minister did not seem to believe that hospitals have a duty to inform parents of such a potential risk to a baby's health. This is extraordinary."

Microbiologists had emphasised that the outbreak was far from routine: that the bacteria was extremely aggressive and defied normal infection control procedures, Ms Kedgley says.
"We need answers about why this particular organism is so aggressive, and why it has developed resistance to an antibiotic-Gentomicin -which is only used in hospitals. It raises the question - have hospitals been using this antibiotic excessively, or what otherwise has given rise to such an aggressive organism?"

A national review of Neonatal units last year had concluded that crowded and stretched units were endangering babies. "This outbreak seems to confirm this."

Antibiotic resistance and the associated emergence of superbugs was a growing concern globally and in New Zealand. Six years ago an expert panel had recommended that the government set up a comprehensive national surveillance and monitoring system of antibiotic resistance in humans and animals to assess how prevalent it was in hospitals and communities, and to enable a rapid response to outbreaks such as the one at Wellington Hospital's neonatal unit. "It is astonishing that six years later, despite serious outbreaks of antibiotic resistance, Mrs King's government has still not acted on this recommendation," Ms Kedgley says.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced


Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election