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New Zealand Authorities Concerned With Overcrowding in Hospitals

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It is impossible to say whether better treatment would have saved Carroll's life. But as the Canterbury District Health Board's senior emergency doctor, Professor Mike Ardagh, put it: "Did he have a chance? Did we deny him that chance? We did." Ardagh shares the view that staff were too busy that day, but his frank acknowledgment that Carroll should have been given a better chance contrasts with the report's limp assessment.

The panel behind the report did not interview the nurses involved, relying instead on their written statements. Interviewing them would have given a fuller picture of Carroll's treatment, especially the allegation from his family that at least one nurse was rude to him, it is pointed out.

Several board members labelled the conference a "PR disaster" at Fridays CDHB board meeting, when it was revealed members were not told the report was finished, were not invited to the media conference, and had yet to see the report.

CDHB chief executive Gordon Davies the board's sole employee apologised for the oversight, which he said happened largely because he was out of the country when the report arrived. The report arrived late on Friday and was hand-delivered to the Carroll family on Saturday, the earliest possible opportunity.

A press conference was scheduled for Monday, Davies said.

Board member Jo Kane said she was "really angry" about the lack of communication from the CDHB's corporate arm, which meant she found out about the report by reading about it in The Press.

Kane said faith in the board and in the emergency department was "shaky" after the release of the report.

Kane said several GPs had told her the public no longer felt confident visiting the department, putting extra pressure on medics in the community.

Board member Alistair James said he was tired of the board being "hammered" over ongoing emergency department fa
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