Health system working despite errors - Hodgson

Health Minister Pete Hodgson says despite recent bad publicity, most people remain confident in the health system because of their own positive personal experiences.

Mr Hodgson was attacked in Parliament today after it was revealed today that Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) had apologised for hastening the death of a sick 82-year-old man who was given the wrong medication.

Health and Disability Commissioner Ron Paterson said in a report into the August 14, 2004, death a "chain of errors" involving wrong medicine and mixed-up documents sped the death of the man during his four-day stay in Auckland Hospital.

Mr Hodgson told Parliament today the ADHB had improved its systems "remarkably" since the incident two-and-a-half years ago.

Mistakes happened in all hospitals all around the world and the Government was intent on reducing those errors in New Zealand, he said.

National MPs highlighted other recent incidents in hospitals in Auckland, Wanganui, Wellington and Christchurch, as well as disruption due to industrial strife.

Mr Hodgson said National was drawing too long a bow.

"There has been a recent spate of reports into deaths, some of them recent and some of them... occurred two and half years ago.

"I think drawing some link between that and industrial activity is a pretty long bow indeed."

National's health spokesman Tony Ryall said despite health spending increasing by $4 billion under Labour there was still report after report raising questions about the quality of care killing people.

Mr Hodgson said Mr Ryall had lost his sense of perspective unlike Mr Paterson who correctly said most people based their confidence in the system on their own experience.

"If that personal experience is positive and it probably is in the overwhelming majority of cases -- that is the crux of personal confidence," Mr Hodgson said.

- NZPA

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