Minister Little unaware of pathways for patients

If the Minister of Health is taking seriously the situation at Middlemore Hospital where a Covid-positive patient was placed in a general ward with three other patients, why has he been unable to provide any details as to the impact of the incident on the hospital and workforce, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“The Minister was unable to answer my questions on any gaps in the patient’s pathway from the Emergency Department to isolation. This is probably because he doesn’t know and is more interested in health system restructuring than protecting New Zealanders from Covid-19.

“It would be reasonable to expect that the Minister of Health might know how many nurses had to be placed in isolation as a result of such an event especially given the attention it generated. Minister Andrew Little appeared to be quite relaxed about his lack of knowledge about the situation.

“This follows him admitting this weekend that there were gaps in hospital preparation for the Delta outbreak, gaps that he is responsible for. This includes gaps in ICU that he could have been fixing when Delta first entered MIQ in April this year.

“The Minister fundamentally needs to explain why a hospitalised person with enough symptoms to be tested for Covid-19 was then placed in a general room with other people and whether there were any single rooms available that day.

“The Health Minister needs to reassure New Zealanders that processes exist and that the incident at Middlemore was not simply business as usual.”