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Assurances over Grey Base Hospital needed

Tony Ryall MP National Party Health Spokesman

11 June 2008

Assurances over Grey Base Hospital needed

Health Minister David Cunliffe needs to assure the public that patient safety at Grey Base Hospital is not being compromised by a failed computer system, says National Party Health spokesman Tony Ryall.

Today, it has been reported that the West Coast District Health Board sent a patient satisfaction survey to a man who died in their hospital earlier in the month.

"This is yet another example of the West Coast health system not doing basic things right. It may be a small example but it is clearly hurtful to the saddened relatives of the patient who died."

Reports today say that the DHB sent a computer generated letter addressed to Eugene (Hughie) O'Keefe last week saying, 'as a follow-up to your recent surgery at Greymouth Hospital, we would like to enquire about your progress and ask you to complete the following questionnaire and return in the envelope provided'.

"The West Coast DHB's computer system is at the centre of patient safety concerns raised by anaesthetist Judy Forbes, who has now resigned from the DHB staff.

"Dr Forbes warned that the new computer system is seeing IT staff running the hospital booking system instead of doctors and nurses.

"Other allegations include patients receiving appointment letters the day after their appointment, a knee replacement patient receiving a letter for a dental procedure, a patient on the list for a two-hour procedure having it done in another hospital six weeks earlier under contract with the West Coast board, and a patient given the wrong medical advice by IT staff to stop medications without clinical consultations.

"The Minister said he would investigate these concerns. His envoy took weeks to get down there, and there is still no sign of any action to fix these concerns. All the while patients on the West Coast wait, wonder and worry."

ENDS

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