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Not enough money to fix hospital’s IT system

David CLARK

MP for Dunedin North

28 February  2014        MEDIA STATEMENT

Not enough money to fix hospital’s IT system

Dunedin Hospital’s IT system was left in a state of disrepair because Tony Ryall’s budget cuts have left Southern DHB penniless, says Labour’s Dunedin North MP David Clark.

“Last year, a service report said Southern DHB needed to urgently update its IT systems due to risks exposed by intermittent service failures.

“My understanding is the Board postponed a decision on funding until April this year because of budget constraints.

“That decision nearly turned into disaster this week as the system shut down, putting patients’ lives at risk and ruining John Key’s media visit.

“Meanwhile the Health minister is heading off to the private sector to make his fortune and is only doing media on his colourful shirts. He has to step back out of retirement mode.

“It will offer no comfort to the people of Otago and Southland to know that a decision to postpone the upgrade was taken in a public-excluded session of the committee last year.

“Due to chronic underfunding by the National Government, the hospital is facing incredible cost pressures. Despite systems freezing and going offline, and a message they needed to upgrade to manage risk, the Board had little option but to defer expenditure.

“The aging facilities services in the South cost a lot more to run. My heart goes out to hospital staff who are doing an amazingly professional job of holding services together in increasingly difficult circumstances.

“A public meeting today is set to hear grievances about delayed surgery, radiation treatment, lost mammograms and issues in mental health arising from a proposal to cut 16 mental health beds on March 3, due to funding constraints.

“Tony Ryall needs to apologise to DHB staff and to the people of the South for the underfunding that has led to this disaster.  He must provide assurances that desperately needed funding is on the way,” says David Clark.

ENDS

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