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Minister responds to comments by Ron Paterson

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister of Health

13 February 2008

Minister responds to comments by Ron Paterson

Minister of Health David Cunliffe has welcomed debate on improving hospital
safety.

Mr Cunliffe was responding to comments made by Health and Disability Commissioner Ron Paterson today.

Mr Cunliffe has met with the Commissioner a number of times on this issue and supports his calls for greater co-ordination in the health sector.

“I welcome open and honest debate on this issue and can assure both the Commissioner and the New Zealand public that significant amounts of work are being done to improve safety and to ensure there is a more centralised process.”

“What I as Minister want, is system that ensures public safety is a priority and is committed to continuous improvement and that takes a collaborative and co-ordinated approach.”

Mr Cunliffe noted the Government’s plan for quality improvement was underscored by the Prime Minister when she addressed parliament yesterday where she noted the Government’s priority of “driving more productivity and quality in the hospital sector.”

In support of this priority Mr Cunliffe he has already; -

- set out this priority in his annual letter of expectation to DHBs
- for the first time sent a strong message to tie part of DHB budgets to progress on the safety and quality agenda
- signalled his support for strengthening the role of the National Quality Improvement Committee
- asked the Director General of health to institute an independent inquiry on the CCDHB cardiac waiting list cases
- instructed the Ministry to work with CCDHB to urgently the reduce the cardiac surgery waiting list.

“Safety and quality are areas where improvement will be driven from the centre and will be continuously placed at the top of the health sector’s agenda.”

ENDS


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