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Patient's life a Casualty of Health Poor Planning

Patient's life a Casualty of Health Ministry's Poor Planning

Heather Roy
Thursday, 3 November 2005
Press Releases - Health

"The Ministry of Health must take some responsibility for the system which allowed a patient to die following systemic failures" said ACT Health spokesman, Heather Roy.

"The Health and Disability Commissioner's report into the care of Eileen Anderson at Mid Central DHB has again highlighted the tragedy of systemic failure in our health system, combined with staff shortages. This could have happened at almost any hospital. Most public hospitals have staff shortages in specialty areas - and difficulty in attracting both medical and nursing staff.

"This case sends a strong message to other District Health Boards, but the Ministry of Health should shoulder some of the responsibility," Mrs Roy said.

"Workforce planning is the responsibility of the Ministry of Health, but has been woefully inadequate. The Ministry has sent workforce planning discussion documents around in circles for years, asking more questions and giving no solutions.

The Health and Disability Commissioner, when interviewed today, said that patient safety must come before financial constraints. His advice should be heeded but District Health Boards are the meat in the sandwich. Since 2001 they have had increasing work devolved to them by the Ministry while told at the same time they must balance their books.

"It is no wonder that more people are waiting, with increasing numbers sent back to their GP without treatment.

"Let's hope the incoming Health Minister stops setting impossible missions. It's time for proper workforce planning and for realistic expectations to be placed on Boards and medical staff," Mrs Roy said.


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