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Contaminated instruments stop heart ops

23 June 2005

Paul Hutchison National Party Health Spokesman

Contaminated instruments and no parking stop heart ops

Health Minister Annette King has failed to do anything effective to prevent the slow down of heart operations in four out of five DHBs, says National's Health spokesman, Paul Hutchison.

The number of heart operations at the Auckland, Waikato, Capital and Coast, and Canterbury DHBs were significantly less in 2003/4 than the year before.

"In Auckland, the situation is compounded by the sterile supply system, which has attracted attention because human tissue was found on supposedly sterile instruments.

Dr Hutchison revealed in Parliament today that despite last month's report, "grossly contaminated instruments" are still appearing from sterile supply, wrecking operating lists, delaying operations and leaving critically ill heart patients to languish in wards without treatment.

"Annette King was unable to tell Parliament why more than $250,000 worth of heart surgery is being lost per week at ADHB.

"The fact is specialist teams frequently stand idle because nurses cannot park onsite, and many are not prepared to bus from Greenlane where parking is available.

"The ADHB continues to be riddled with problems, even though it has been under intense monitoring for more than a year.

"It is a damning indictment on Labour that despite putting $3.5 billion extra into health over the past five years, four out of five DHBs are performing less heart operations," says Dr Hutchison.

ENDS

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