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HDC Report Raises Urgent Issues

HDC Report Raises Urgent Issues

The Health and Disability Commissioner’s report into the safety of patients at New Zealand hospitals raises important issues, many of which the New Zealand Medical Association has been pushing for some time.

“The lack of national coordination of DHB policies and practices is starkly revealed in the report,” said NZMA Deputy Chairman Dr Paul Ockelford.

“But it is not sufficient to have a national approach to quality, as has been suggested, if health services are not delivered in a nationally consistent way.”

The NZMA has long asserted that in a country of just 4 million people, to have 21 District Health Boards providing health services 21 different ways leads to fragmentation of services and “postcode” care.

The report also highlighted serious problems with the health workforce, particularly shortages of junior doctors. The NZMA has long advocated that urgent action is needed to tackle workforce problems.

“Problems with clinical handover are also highlighted in the report. The NZMA is keen to work with the appropriate groups to develop a clinical handover guide, and has already offered to do this.”

“We are pleased these important issues have been identified and work can now proceed to ensure that the utmost is done to ensure the safety of patients in our hospital system. DHB boards and senior managers need to accept responsibility and take urgent action,” Dr Ockelford said.


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