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Wanganui: Health Minister must act now – or resign

Hon. Tony Ryall MP

National Party Health spokesman

26 November 2006

Wanganui: Health Minister must act now – or resign

National’s Health spokesman, Tony Ryall, says Health Minister Peter Hodgson must take urgent action over the escalating crisis at Wanganui Hospital – or he should resign.

His comments follow the resignation of a senior specialist who has labelled the hospital ‘unsafe’, and the reported discovery that thousands of patients may have missed out on specialist treatment over the past three years after a ‘systems error’ meant they were never booked, despite referrals by their GPs.

“Minister Pete Hodgson must take action, and he must take it now.

“He has three options: appoint a commissioner, fire the chairman, or order urgent ministry intervention.

“If he sits back like he usually does, he should resign.

“What's the point of a Health Minister who ignores such alarming signs of collapse in a hospital service?

“This is incredibly serious and I cannot believe the Prime Minister would allow Pete Hodgson to neglect the people of Wanganui.

"The Whanganui DHB is stumbling from crisis to crisis: paediatric and obstetric, emergency department, ambulance, and home care services, cuts to services for the elderly, cuts to hospice funding, major administrative failures and now only half the number of junior doctors.

“Despite National MPs raising these concerns repeatedly in Parliament, Mr Hodgson has done little to remedy the crisis.

“Senior surgeon and DHB board member Clive Solomon, who has resigned from his job, says patients are at risk and the ministry must intervene to help restore patient services.

"Already the Government has been forced to underwrite the DHB's debts following a $9 million shortfall last year," says Mr Ryall.

Ends


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