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Patient Safety Compromised by Cost Cutting on Blood Tests

Barbara Stewart MP
Spokesperson for Health
4 JUNE 2014

Patient Safety Compromised by Cost Cutting on Blood Tests

New Zealand First has called on doctors in Wellington’s public health system to ignore instructions to cut back on blood tests to save money.

This follows the Capital and Coast District Health Board sending a note to doctors urging them to think more carefully about the cost of a blood test and whether a patient really needs it.

Health spokesperson Barbara Stewart says the instruction is dangerous because doctors order blood tests for very good reasons.

“To reduce blood tests to save a few dollars is playing a form of Russian roulette with a patient’s health.

“Doctors order blood tests to confirm a diagnosis and to accurately assess the extent of a health problem.

“Their professional judgement should decide on the need for a blood test – not a stupid money saving directive that originates in a government office.”

Mrs Stewart says the health system should cater for the needs of sick people and if they need blood tests they should have them.

“Why should doctors carry the responsibility for inadequate government funding? Why should they lie awake at night wondering if a blood test would have saved someone?

“Perhaps the best news for hospital patients in the Wellington region is the departure of the Health Minister who has cut services to the bone,” says Mrs Stewart.

ENDS


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