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Minister seeks action on Cardiothoracic service

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister of Health

1 February 2008

Minister seeks action on Cardiothoracic service

Minister of Health David Cunliffe is seeking further action at Capital and Coast District Health Board to improve patient services.

In December the Minister appointed a new Chair and put in place a crown monitor, he had also instructed the Board work on solutions for paediatric oncology.

Mr Cunliffe said he had sought an independent review of three patient deaths on the cardiothoracic waiting list and instructed measures to be taken to clear a backlog of patients.

“There has been a reported allegation that there were three possibly preventable deaths and I have asked the Ministry of Health to initiate an independent review.”

“I will be interested in whether CCDHB and Hawke’s Bay DHB (HBDHB) followed their obligations under the Operational Policy Framework in relation to the allegedly preventable deaths.”

In addition to the review action continues to be taken at Capital and Coast DHB to improve waiting times for the cardiothoracic service.

Mr Cunliffe said in November and December Capital and Coast DHB had improved the number of cardiothoracic patients being seen, however this had not been enough and more action is needed.

Measures included bolstering its work with private providers, negotiating with other DHBs to increase the number of cases they were able to see and taking steps to address staff shortages.

“A key component of the elective services programme is to ensure that we measure our ability to meet an appropriate level of health need. Where we have good evidence of a problem we can act.

“It is not acceptable to have patients waiting excessively long periods of time to receive surgery in a speciality such as this so we are taking action to fix it.”

Mr Cunliffe said he did not wish to prejudge the outcome of any review and therefore would not be making further comment at this time.

Please find attached Terms of Reference for the review


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