Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Claims of gynaecology patients' consent breaches

Health board says it's made improvements since claims of gynaecology patients' rights breaches
Phil Pennington, Reporter

The Waitematā District Health Board admits it's dealt with several cases of inadequate patient consent last year but none in the past six months.

North Shore Hospital across Lake Pupuke. Photo: Karora, Wikimedia Commons

The Nurses Organisation has accused North Shore Hospital of breaching women patients' rights in its women health theatres, and has asked the Health and Disability Commissioner to investigate.

The accusation centres on junior doctors, midwives and paramedics observing or participating in procedures in a teaching situation.

But the board said it had taken a lot of action to improve its procedures and policies, and the union's complaints were outdated.

"It's difficult to respond to their concern about the practice [being] ongoing because they have not provided - and no member of staff actually has provided - to us specific concerns since June," said chief medical officer Dr Jonathan Christiansen.

A union claim of 10 problem cases of inadequate consent being recorded since last year was incorrect, he said.

"Prior to that [June 2019] we did fully investigate the small number they raised," Dr Christiansen said.

"Our investigations found that there were incomplete conversations with the team members on several occasions, and those were followed up very closely.

"I would note that I personally investigated three cases in April and May of this year and found that the conversations that were had were appropriate, and that the concerns were not sustained," he said.

The board at first did not provide information to RNZ about these other cases, or say anything about the interaction with the union, saying the other cases were out of scope of an Official Information Act request.

The DHB had not been notified by the Health and Disability Commissioner so Dr Christiansen did not believe it was being investigated.

The board and the union were fundamentally on the same page, that teaching situations - such as where a senior doctor conducted a vaginal examination then asked a junior doctor to do one too - required a patient's full knowledge and consent, he said.

The Nurses Organisation said it had become increasingly frustrated since meeting in April 2019 with senior medical staff and board members, including women's health advocate Sandra Coney, at which point action had looked likely.

Ms Coney in 1987 co-wrote a magazine article, An Unfortunate Experiment, which helped expose scandals around cervical cancer and lack of consent.

She told RNZ to speak to the board chair, and that she would not comment because she "did not have to". She then hung up.

Dr Christiansen said it had taken years to improve informed consent practices partly because staff moved around a lot.

"You actually have to provide a continuous constant reinforcement of individual policies in your DHB to that workforce, which we are now doing with much more focus," he said.

Consent was a two-way street, he said.

He stressed that women needed to be proactive and ask more questions if they felt they did not have enough information.

"It's not simply a one-way street where clinicians tell the patient what's going to happen, the patient is an active participant in in the informed consent process. And there are often choices about how a procedure is undertaken."

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 


Julian Assange: A Thousand Days In Belmarsh
Julian Assange has now been in the maximum-security facilities of Belmarsh prison for over 1,000 days. On the occasion of his 1,000th day of imprisonment, campaigners, supporters and kindred spirits gathered to show their support, indignation and solidarity at this political detention most foul... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: The Mauling Of Novak Djokovic
Rarely can the treatment of a grand sporting figure by officialdom have caused such consternation. Novak Djokovic, the tennis World Number One, has always had a tendency to get under skin and constitution, creating a large following of admirers and detractors. But his current treatment by Australian authorities, and his subsequent detention as an unlawful arrival despite being granted a visa to participate in the Australian Open, had the hallmarks of oppression and incompetent vulgarity... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Voices Of Concern: Aussies For Assange’s Return

With Julian Assange now fighting the next stage of efforts to extradite him to the United States to face 18 charges, 17 of which are based on the brutal, archaic Espionage Act, some Australian politicians have found their voice. It might be said that a few have even found their conscience... More>>



Forbidden Parties: Boris Johnson’s Law On Illegal Covid Gatherings

It was meant to be time to reflect. The eager arms of a new pandemic were enfolding a society with asphyxiating, lethal effect. Public health authorities advocated various measures: social distancing, limited contact between family and friends, limited mobility. No grand booze-ups. No large parties. No bonking, except within dispensations of intimacy and various “bubble” arrangements. Certainly, no orgies... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Question Time Is Anything But
The focus placed on the first couple of Question Time exchanges between the new leader of the National Party and the Prime Minister will have seemed excessive to many but the most seasoned Parliamentary observers. Most people, especially those outside the Wellington beltway, imagine Question Time is exactly what it sounds... More>>



Gasbagging In Glasgow: COP26 And Phasing Down Coal

Words can provide sharp traps, fettering language and caging definitions. They can also speak to freedom of action and permissiveness. At COP26, that permissiveness was all the more present in the haggling ahead of what would become the Glasgow Climate Pact... More>>