The Southern District Health Board has “sincerely” apologised to patients who have waited too long for treatment, and pledged to create a more sustainable future where patient needs are central.
After a barrage of criticism about treatment delays and the state of Dunedin Hospital, SDHB commissioners Kathy Grant, Richard Thomson and Graham Crombie yesterday issued a lengthy public response.
They were aware of serious concerns among the community about health care access.
“We sincerely apologise to those whose wait for treatment has been too long, and acknowledge the impact this has on your lives.”
Issues raised recently had led to discussion about the relationship between money and outcomes.
“It’s an important point and money indeed matters but it risks being over-simplified.”
The commissioners were committed to securing a long term, sustainable future for SDHB.
“This means placing the needs of patients at the centre of what we do.”
The response comes as public anger continues to build against Health Minister Jonathan Coleman, following his criticism of Dunedin Hospital’s urology department.
Faced with questions about the poor performance of the southern urology service, including cancer patients waiting too long for surgery, Dr Coleman labelled the department “toxic”.
That led Dr Latika Samalia, wife of urology surgeon KP Samalia, to this week write an emotional letter to Dr Coleman demanding an apology.
He has refused to withdraw the comment. Social media has been filled with messages of support for Mr Samalia, and calls for Dr Coleman to apologise.
Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand board member and Dunedin support group co-ordinator Ken Cook, of Mosgiel, said he was disappointed with Dr Coleman’s statement.
Otago Daily Times