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What About Tertiary Services, Minister?

What About Tertiary Services, Minister?

It was extremely disappointing to note that Health Minister David Cunliffe made no mention of improving tertiary services at Capital & Coast DHB - especially cardio thoracic surgery - to other DHBs in the Central region in his media release and Ministerial statement yesterday, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"Wellington Hospital is funded for the provision of specialist services - including heart surgery - to patients from Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa, MidCentral, Whanganui and Hutt Hospitals. As such, it has an obligation to provide good access to those services," Mrs Roy said.

"Yet last week Hawkes Bay DHB confirmed in the 'Hawkes Bay Today' newspaper that, in the past year, three of its patients had died while waiting for Wellington Hospital to perform their heart surgery.

"The fact that the Health Minister claimed that neither he, his Ministry or CCDHB had any record of such deaths shows that systems are every bit as bad as has been reported.

"Yesterday the Minister announced the appointment of a new Crown Monitor for CCDHB, along with a new Chair. They, along with the existing Board, have until April to turn things around.

"A Crown Monitor is the Minister's watchdog - with the old regime still in place, the potential for Ministerial and Government meddling at CCDHB will not be reduced one bit. DHBs in the Central region must have good access for their patients to tertiary services, as well as Wellingtonians having the best quality healthcare in the best time available to them.

"The best option for CCDHB is for an independent commissioner to be appointed - one with a proven record of turning organisations around, the ability to think outside the square, and the authority to form their own team.

"Such a commissioner would remain free from the Minister and Ministry's political meddling - which has become endemic in the public health service - and be able to get on with the job of ensuring the health and safety of patients and health professionals," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

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