[ACT] Cunliffe Guilty Of Ministerial Malpractice
[ACT] Cunliffe Guilty Of Ministerial Malpractice - Heather Roy
ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman and Wellington-based MP Heather Roy today released documents showing that, in October 2005, 90 patients - all who had been given certainty of treatment - had been waiting longer than six months to receive cardiothoracic surgery from Capital & Coast DHB.
"Even more concerning is the fact that - according to these documents, obtained under the Official Information Act - CCDHB actually admitted it would not be able to clear the serious backlog that had built up over the preceding 12-18 months," Mrs Roy said.
"These documents include a proposal to refer 20 patients - under the 50-point treatment threshold - back to their referrer for reassessment. This would leave 70 patients, 54 of whom were from referring DHBs - Hutt, Wairarapa, Whanganui, Hawkes Bay and Mid-Central - to continue waiting for surgery.
"This is completely unacceptable; as the tertiary provider to the central region for cardiothoracic surgery, it is CCDHB's responsibility to provide a timely and efficient service. This, however, does not appear to have been the case - as evidenced when I revealed that three Hawkes Bay DHB patients had died awaiting treatment from CCDHB.
"Two frustrated central region DHBs, Hawkes Bay and Mid-Central, had gone so far as to consider seeking alternative surgery for their patients elsewhere - including sending them to Australia for the surgery they should have received at Wellington Hospital.
"When I raised this issue in December, Health Minister David Cunliffe accused me of lying - when, according to these documents, he and the Health Ministry had been aware of the situation since mid-November. The Minister simply sat on his hands and did nothing until the release of these documents to me forced him on February 1 2008 to instigate a review of tertiary services provided by CCDHB.
"Rather than shooting the messenger, Mr Cunliffe should have done his job and acted immediately. By failing to do so, he has shown that he is more concerned about saving face than saving lives. Were the Minister one of the health professionals he is currently leaving high and dry, this sort of behaviour would certainly see him charged with malpractice and prevented from practicing," Mrs Roy said.