Dr Ashley Bloomfield’s letter to Parliament’s Health Committee apologising for providing incorrect information about the Covid-19 infected UN worker raises more questions than it answers, National’s Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“I asked Dr Bloomfield twice if he or his officials had any contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the issue. Despite his text messages with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs only occurring the week before the meeting, Dr Bloomfield did not disclose the messages at the meeting.
“The text messages confirm that former Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark is donkey-deep in the issue, with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs confirming she had talked to both him and the Foreign Affairs Minister.
“Dr Bloomfield’s text message answer: ‘Thanks yes we're all over it. I think we will get resolution’ raises a number of questions which deserve answers.
“Dr Bloomfield insisted to the Health Committee that the decision to allow the UN worker to enter New Zealand was made clinically by doctors and with no involvement from him and the Ministry of Health.
“But ‘yes we’re all over it’ implies the Ministry was definitely involved in the decision. The suspicion from many is that pressure was placed on clinicians at Middlemore Hospital to allow the medical evacuation.
“The simple reality is that one day there was no capacity and the request was turned down. Intensive care clinicians said they did not want the patient transferred to New Zealand on ethical and safety grounds. A day later, suddenly the request was approved, against clinicians’ wishes.
“The question which has never been answered is who approved the transfer, and why?
“National will be moving at next week’s Health Committee for Dr Bloomfield to be recalled to the committee for further questions on this serious matter.”
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