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I'm not sure the Health Minister's office has its priorities right.
Last night we learned that a healthy 50 year old woman died in Middlemore hospital on Wednesday, reportedly because the emergency department is so stretched they couldn’t attend to her quickly enough.
She came in with a severe headache at 1am on Wednesday, they told her the wait to be seen was 8 hours. Because Middlemore is being slammed at the moment, she left the ED in frustration, came back at 4am, was tubed up, rushed in to ICU and died of a brain bleed.
When the Herald asked the DHB about it yesterday afternoon, the DHB claimed the woman was still alive in ICU. She wasn’t. She had already died. The Herald forced them to reveal the truth.
As soon as we heard what happened, we knew this was serious.
Middlemore staff have been warning this kind of thing would happen. They told us it was frightening to work without enough staff. They told us they’re being hit by record numbers of people turning up. They don’t have nearly enough beds. 71 people at one time last week were waiting for beds. The hospital went into the red setting. And last Friday – one week ago – doctors warned us delays would lead to deaths.
So this show immediately emailed Andrew Little’s office to ask him to talk to us today. They declined.
But this is what Andrew Little's team were tweeting only hours after the Middlemore story broke on the Herald: "Free pads and tampons in schools. Period. This was the right thing to do for girls and young women. We campaigned on it. We’ve now delivered it. Elections matter, your vote matters, you can change New Zealand. [love heart emoji]"
A woman died. Probably because our hospitals are dangerously under staffed. The Minister will not talk about it.
But his team are crowing about his success in handing out free tampons and periods.
Is there something wrong with the priorities here?
It feels like that to me.
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