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King suffers amnesia over her long ED waits crisis

Hon Jo Goodhew
Associate Minister of Health

12 August 2013 Media Statement
King suffers amnesia over her long ED waits crisis

Annette King has forgotten that she endorsed a major report that slammed Labour on emergency department (ED) waiting times, says Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew.

“Mrs King blusters over ED waiting times that are now 50 per cent better than when she was in government,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“A Ministry of Health report* shows that during her time only 16 district health boards (DHBs) met triage 1 timeframes, only 7 met triage 2, and only 4 met triage 3.

“The report showed that under Ms King, triage times were dreadful.
“In the report, ED clinicians recommended a six hour target measuring full completion of treatment be created.

“Such was Labour’s failure, senior ED doctors’ state in the report that a two day wait in a large ED was not unusual, that ED overcrowding was widespread and worsening, and DHBs like Waikato had 15 trolleys in the ED corridor to cope with excess patients.

“This was in part to solve the problem of triaging allowing ED wait times to stop being counted after a patient was first seen by a doctor. So an injured person could be seen in the first hour by a doctor, then wait 10 hours for an x-ray, but only show as being triaged within an hour.

“Most telling about Labour’s failure, however, was the report’s conclusion that a cause of the nationwide ED problem was a lack of resources and a lack national guidance and direction.

“National has delivered an average increase of $500 million a year to health.

“While it is understandable Labour makes statistics up because health services are now much faster, I would have expected the usual bluster from Mrs King to have been more restrained considering the disgraceful state Labour left ED services in,” concluded Mrs Goodhew.

* Recommendations to Improve Quality and the Measurement of Quality in Emergency Departments, Ministry of Health (2009).

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