9 Sep 2015

Health officials accused of misleading clinicians

10:45 am on 9 September 2015

The Ministry of Health is being accused of misleading doctors at the Canterbury District Health Board.

The allegations relate to the relationship between the ministry, the district health board and its medical staff.

Christchurch Hospital Emergency entrance.

Christchurch Hospital (file) Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

A senior doctor at Christchurch Hospital has written to Labour MP Annette King, saying ministry executives had told the doctors that Canterbury DHB managers were not passing on critical information about the financial pressures at the hospital, including at the emergency department, to the Ministry of Health.

The letter said the managers were, in fact, passing that information on to the ministry.

"To hear that a senior MoH official has so overtly misled clinicians makes me very angry given what we had to put up with, and deal with, over these past almost five years," the doctor's letter said.

Labour Deputy Leader, Annette King.

Annette King Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Labour's Annette King said the new accusations were alarming.

She said it was the third letter of its kind she had received in the past few months and there was definitely a trend of bullying at the Ministry of Health.

Ms King said Health Minister Jonathan Coleman should not disregard it, as she said he had the previous letters.

The Ministry of Health said in a statement it "believes that claims of unprofessional behaviour by Ministry staff, reported to the Ministry by Radio New Zealand in relation to this matter, are inaccurate."

In June, a senior Ministry of Health worker wrote accusing some ministry executives of bullying staff at the Southern DHB.

Ministry chief executive Chai Chuah said he would not tolerate bad behaviour and had made that quite explicit to the staff.