9 Jun 2014

Hospital denies babies put at risk

7:29 pm on 9 June 2014

Reports babies were put at risk during a "chaotic" shutdown of its medical air system are absurd, Waikato Hospital says.

An unidentified whistleblower has told several news outlets there was total confusion when alarms in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit went off last week while the system providing air to incubators was being replaced.

The hospital's property and infrastructure manager, Colin Hearnden, on Monday confirmed that the alarms sounded when the switch-over didn't go as planned.

However, he told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme contingency plans were in place and the babies were never in danger.

"That's entirely wrong and we have no idea why that person would say that. The staff on the ward will also back that up. There was no hint of any chaos, no babies were at risk at any point during the shutdown."

Mr Hearnden said accusations that staff working on the system are underpaid and overworked are also incorrect.