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Proposal To Cut Doctor Staffing Based On "Non-Existent Review"

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Proposal To Cut Doctor Staffing Based On "Non-Existent Review"

"The proposal to cut senior doctor staffing at Queenstown's Lakes District Hospital by 25% is based on a non-existent review," said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today.

"In his proposal to radically change Lakes District Hospital, including cutting senior doctor numbers from 8 to 6, Chief Executive Brian Rousseau justified this by saying that a 2009 'desktop review' by former chief medical officer Pim Allen had concluded that the 'majority of attendances' at the hospital could have been safely dealt with in primary care."

"Senior doctors were wary of the truth of this claim. We had learnt that last year's review group (Clinical Advisory Group) had heard of this and asked for a copy of it but were advised that DHB management could not find it. Consequently this health professional led review was denied the opportunity to check the accuracy of the claim."

"By now we smelled a rat. We then directly asked Mr Rousseau for a copy. He admitted that he did not have it, had not seen it, but agreed to get it from Dr Allen who is now overseas."

"Subsequently he forwarded a letter to him from Dr Allen. Sadly the letter provides a shocking revelation. In particular:

The letter was dated 11 March this year. There was no report written when the so-called review was done. The mythical review was conducted nearly four years ago in 2007 (stretching into early 2008), not 2009 as asserted by Mr Rousseau (perhaps an understandable error given he never read what was never written). The letter written this month does not say what Mr Rousseau claims it says. It does not say that the majority of attendances' at the hospital could have been safely dealt with in primary care. The letter provides no statistical analysis from which any robust conclusions might be made." "It is disgraceful that Southern DHB has allowed a proposal to be circulated, based on a review that was never written, seeking to radically downgrade Queenstown's public hospital, in part by cutting senior doctor staffing. All the DHB bosses have done is cause anxiety for the public of Wakitipu and distress for the hospital's doctors and nurses, whose voices and experience has been ignored."

"Is George Bush running Southern DHB? The war in Iraq was justified on 'weapons of mass destruction' that did not exist. Are we now going to have the destruction of a rural public hospital based on a review that did not exist," concluded Mr Powell.

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