Health borad finds out about baby death via media

File photo.

An elected Waikato DHB Board member has questioned why his Board were not advised of the death of a baby at Waikato Hospital last December, until media covered the story yesterday.

Dave Macpherson, first elected in October 2016, said he and the Board had "never been advised of this terrible case".

"Had we been informed that the reason the baby died was due to a lack of delivery suites, after the Hospital ‘bumped’ the planned C-section to cater for an acute case, we would have had the chance to address this problem earlier."

He says since the case was covered by the media last night, he had received allegations from the medical community that this had not been the only such case, and that Hospital managers had stopped using a ‘risk alert’ system that could have highlighted the risk of the delayed C-section, after they began receiving too many high-risk notifications.

"The Women’s Health section of Waikato Hospital has staff that work very hard on behalf of their patients, but has had multiple management changes in the recent past, and has only just regained its lost accreditation from the national accreditation authority.

"Issues such as these are very concerning to Board members who have a responsibility to ensure the DHB delivers good quality health services to our community.

"But even more concerning is the apparent culture, right across the DHB sector, of only telling the good news."

"This leads to spin and delay replacing fact and action, and to problems not being addressed as early as they should be," he says.

Macpherson outlined several areas where this is currently happening in his DHB:

-The Minister and Board Chair claiming that Waikato DHB could deliver a ‘break-even’ budget for the 2017-8 year, when the facts are that it is facing a $32.5M deficit;

-Several delays in producing a report into the Chief Executive’s spending on travel and conference, after the Board had been told in mid-July that a report could be expected in two weeks, and with the Chief Executive being placed on leave for two months now, and the DHB management being put in limbo covering for his work;

-The failure of management to tell the Board of this, and possibly other serious incidents, leading to issues not being addressed, either at all, or when they should have been.

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