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Report Highlights Avoidable Deaths

Posted on 07 Oct 2008

The release of the 'Report on Patients Awaiting Cardiac Surgery: Capital and Coast District Health Board' confirms what ACT has known all along - that it is not health professionals, but the Government's mismanagement of Health that is costing lives, ACT Deputy Leader and Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"This report is an indictment of how Labour has run the Health portfolio - and would never have been done had I not raised the issue in Parliament last year," Mrs Roy said.

"According to the report, 16 patients have died while awaiting cardiac surgery from CCDHB - eight of whom wouldn't have died had they received adequate care.  Of these, three had waited more than six months for surgery.  It is no wonder we had to wait nine months for this report when Health Minister David Cunliffe promised it would take only eight weeks.

"While the report confirms that the public can have confidence in the clinicians involved in the service, and the standard of cardiac assessment and surgery, it points out that clinical care was compromised by resource constraints and says:
'... potentially preventable patient deaths have occurred during the review period due to systems and resource issues.'

"The report authors warned that long waiting times and potentially preventable deaths could well be occurring at all other centres in New Zealand due to the same resource issues.  Recommendations in the report include reducing waiting times, increasing in-patient cardiac bed numbers - yet the new wellington Hospital has fewer beds than ever before.

"The key is utilising all services available - including those offered by private hospitals.  Cardiac patients are not well served in New Zealand.  Avoidable deaths are not something any government should tolerate or ignore," Mrs Roy said.


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