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Labour must walk the talk on elder abuse

Sandra Goudie MP National Party Senior Citizens Spokeswoman

19 May 2006

Labour must walk the talk on elder abuse

National Party Senior Citizens spokeswoman Sandra Goudie says Labour must condemn what one registered nurse has described as the 'unethical' publication of intimate photos featuring rest home residents.

"Labour must walk the talk on elder abuse. They've sat on their hands for too long on this issue."

Sandra Goudie says she empathises with the views expressed in a letter to the editor published in a newspaper yesterday and written by a registered nurse.* The letter reads: 'It is not ethical to use someone for our own ends, in this case to bolster an industrial claim for care workers. It is also not lawful; the Health and Disability Consumer's Code of Rights 1996 says these people have a right to be free from exploitation and to have their dignity respected.'

The letter also asks whether the industrial campaign was approved by the nurses' ethics committee.

"There's a clear case of hypocrisy here. Labour condemned newspaper editors for publishing Danish cartoons, yet it has remained silent on an issue far closer to home, involving vulnerable older New Zealanders.

"The fact that families and nurses are complaining should be enough to generate apologies, retractions and compromise. I'm disappointed that Labour has chosen to back the wrong side on this one."

Ms Goudie says she intends to send a letter outlining her concerns to the office of the Health and Disability Commissioner.

"I'd also encourage the families directly involved to pursue complaints to relevant statutory bodies. Was it ethical? Was it a breach of privacy to republish? Were proper consents gained?"

ENDS

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