Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

'Unreasonable delay' in Health Com. Inquiry

Hon Jim Anderton
Deputy Prime Minister

News release

27 February 2000

Ombudsman finds 'unreasonable delay' in Health Commissioner's Inquiry

An investigation by the Health and Disability Commissioner into privatised amputee services in Northland and Auckland has been delayed unreasonably, the Ombudsman has found.

Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton asked Commissioner Robin Stent to investigate three years ago, but despite repeated assurances she has never completed her report.

"The Ombudsman's finding is damning. The Health and Disability Commissioner is there to protect patients who in this case were the victims of appalling treatment. The Commissioner has failed those vulnerable amputees," he said.

Since the investigation began, the company at the centre of complaints has been wound up, the Regional Health Authority that hired it has been abolished and the Audit Office has completed its own damning inquiry into the contract for the care of amputees.

Jim Anderton first laid a complaint on behalf of eight amputees on 8 April 1997, a month after the then National-NZ First Government privatised amputee services in Auckland.

When the then Northern RHA switched the contract from the Auckland artificial limb centre to the privately-owned RML on 1 march 1997, complaints about the quality and timeliness of service flooded into Mr Anderton's office. On receiving the complaint, Mrs Stent predicted the investigation would be completed by September 1997.

With numerous complaints continuing to swamp the privatised service, Mr Anderton called in the Ombudsman in February 1999 to ask why the Commissioner had not reported.

In August last year the Ombudsman accepted an assurance from Commissioner Stent that her inquiry would be wound up by September. Now the Ombudsman too has lost patience, telling the Commissioner:

'I really have no alternative but to sustain Mr Anderton's complaint about unreasonable delay….Various promises have been made since 1997 to complete the investigation within a certain time frame which have not been kept. To give an assessment of a completion date and not adhere to it, on the grounds that other matters are occupying your time is, in my opinion, not a valid basis for failing to accord the matter the priority that was promised. I have therefore sustained Mr Anderton's complaint [of unreasonable delay].

"This was a matter of urgency. Amputees were complaining because they couldn't get their limbs repaired or fitted properly. There were complaints such as limbs being sent to Australia for eight weeks and then being returned ill-fitting," Jim Anderton said.

"The whole episode showed that the National Party's privatisation of health has been a disaster for patients. The Commissioner, who was supposed to protect patients rights in the privatised system has failed to step in where she was needed."


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Whakaari / White Island Eruption: Body recovery operation

The NZ Defence Force recovered the bodies of six people who tragically died in Monday’s eruption on Whakaari/White Island and will support efforts to recover the bodies of two others in the hope there is resolution for those families. .. More>>

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On Welfare Vs Infrastructure Spending

If New Zealand has a pressing need to stimulate its flagging economy, it seems very weird that the government is choosing a $12 billion package of infrastructure spending – mainly on road and rail – that by definition, will take a very long time to deliver their stimulatory benefits ... More>>

New Reports: "Immediate Commitment To Doing Justice Differently"

Justice Minister Andrew Little released two reports today, Turuki! Turuki! from Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora, and Te Tangi o te Manawanui: Recommendations for Reform from the Chief Victims Advisor. Both recommend a fresh approach to the way criminal justice has been approached... More>>

ALSO:

"Heart-Breaking And Confronting": Surgical Mesh Restorative Justice Report

Minister Genter: “People have talked about losing the life they had enjoyed before surgical mesh harmed them – the loss of a steady job, the ability to exercise, a loving relationship in some cases. Others described the chronic pain they experienced..." More>>

ALSO:

Law Foundation: Government Decryption Powers Must Respect Privacy

The power of government to order users and companies to decrypt encrypted data and devices needs stronger privacy protections and additional safeguards, according to a study published by researchers at the University of Waikato. More>>

Latest 'Discussion Doc': National On Healthcare

National has today released our eighth Discussion Document which focusses on health and outlines a range of policies which will enable more Kiwis to access high-quality healthcare, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says. More>>

ALSO:

Select Committee Report: Combatting Foreign Election Interference

MPs have finally delivered their recommendations to combat foreign interference in elections in a long awaited and much delayed report. More>>

Mosque Attacks: Names Of Arresting Officers Released

Police are now in the position to name the two officers involved in the arrest of the alleged gunman responsible for the attacks on the Al Noor and Linwood Mosques on March 15. More>>

Big, Bold, Permanent Change Needed: Children's Commissioner On 2019 Child Poverty Monitor

“I want to see family incomes dramatically raised by increasing benefits and making the minimum wage a living wage. And the Government needs to move much faster at increasing the supply of social housing..." More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels