web analytics

The Listener on our health system crisis

Written By: - Date published: 2:58 pm, August 7th, 2017 - 17 comments
Categories: class war, health - Tags: , , ,

A major piece by Jessica McAllen in The Listener out today. Here’s a summary from The Herald:

Hardware store tools used in surgeries

Cash-strapped hospitals are using equipment from hardware stores in operations, putting patients at risk, a Listener investigation has found.

Leaked documents and photos reveal some district health boards have been using inferior hardware store versions of expensive surgical-grade equipment.

In other cases single-use devices are reused and other equipment is modified.

The Listener article said tools such as vice grips cost about $50 from a hardware store but $800 if bought through medical companies.

A technician from a lower North Island hospital said cheaper tools were being damaged during the sterilisation process.

“I have seen several of these items that, after one wash, had rusted terribly or had paint chipping off,” the technician told the Listener.

“I’m sure no patient wants to be operated on with items like that.”

In documents released under the Official Information Act it was revealed in the past two years DHBs have identified hundreds of non-surgical-grade items and removed them from operating theatres.

These included rusty vice grips, retractors (used for holding open incisions) that were potentially carrying human tissue from patient to patient and modified equipment.

Other incidents included a saw purchased from Mitre 10 and used until the end of 2015 and $100 bolt cutters from Bunnings Warehouse used to cut plates and rods in orthopaedic surgery. …



(Nice cover to the right of The Listener in that one!)

17 comments on “The Listener on our health system crisis ”

  1. Such things as this are the result of the massive underfunding that National has engaged in so as to be able to afford tax cuts that only benefit the rich.

    • ropata 1.1

      Yep, puritan Bill English has imposed austerity by stealth on the people of NZ while spending up on roads & subsidies for his mates (landbankers and farmers)

    • AB 1.2

      Not only underfunding, but a refusal to engage in effective disease prevention programmes whenever such programmes might interrupt the flow of profits to business. e.g. sugary drinks and obesity

  2. Sacha 2

    “Here’s a summary from The Herald”

    As Jess notes, they’ve ripped most of her Listener story before it was even available to non-subscibers to buy. Let’s not reward that lack of journalistic ethics at Granny with our clicks.

    • weka 2.1

      True, but on the other hand where is The Listener content these days and why is it so hard to find? This article will be on Noted in a week or so.

      McAllen also kindly pointed out that one can access it online via public libraries if one has a card. Haven’t had time to look yet.

  3. weka 3

    Can’t wait for this to make it into the Guardian.

  4. DH 4

    Ouch, makes me wince looking the pictures of the tools. I’d have thought surely they’d try and buy stainless tools, standard steel is obviously not suitable for that kind of work.

    How does procurement work with the health boards? Do they all do their own buying or is there a central purchasing agency who does bulk-buying?

    Hard to see how the suppliers can get away with charging $800 for a pair of vice grips if the buyers know their stuff. An engineering shop in NZ could make them for way less than that.

    • Hard to see how the suppliers can get away with charging $800 for a pair of vice grips if the buyers know their stuff. An engineering shop in NZ could make them for way less than that.

      That would, to a large extent, depend upon the price of surgical stainless-steel and the ability to keep end prices down via economies of scale.

      • DH 4.1.1

        You’re only talking a kilo or two of surgical stainless Draco, which should be $25-30 max. The price is in the exclusiveness. It’s a simple enough tool, even custom manufacturing doesn’t cost that much.

  5. rhinocrates 5

    Just to pre-empt the trolls. A Green MP once proposed homeopathy as a treatment for Ebola – and was immediately demoted IIRC. On the other hand, Coleman remains a minister.

  6. Nic the NZer 6


    On the cost of healthcare. The Author did a talk in Wellington a few weeks ago.

  7. Whispering Kate 7

    I was on to this smartly last Friday on this site – we receive our Listener in the post and when I read the article I couldn’t believe my eyes. It surprises me that news like this is slow sometimes to be brought to the attention of readers. It is not that difficult to get hold of a Listener. There have been other occasions when I have “broke” news on this site, to have it passed over, and then lo and behold it comes out a few days later. Still I am pleased it has come to the attention of readers as it is a shameful indictment on our health system.

  8. Keepcalmcarryon 8

    Even various grades of Stainless steel can corrode.
    Flakey rust can obviously harbour bacteria, another risk of using different steel types is galvanic corrosion of implants( screws plates pins etc) if any fragments are left behind.
    Surgical instruments can be crazily expensive – it’s a bit like aeroplane parts, they attract an extra 0 on the end just by being called ” surgical”. They should be higher grade steel and reusable though.
    Have to feel for the surgeons having to ” innovate” as above, it would go against the grain I’m sure.

  9. Michael 9

    How does Labour expect its “promise” to “restore” health spending “over time” and “as conditions allow” to be taken seriously?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • New initiatives to unlock Māori science and research resources
    The Government is investing in a suite of initiatives to unlock Māori and Pacific resources, talent and knowledge across the science and research sector, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Two new funds – He tipu ka hua and He aka ka toro – set to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Advancing our relationship in India
    Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta departs for India tomorrow as she continues to reconnect Aotearoa New Zealand to the world.  The visit will begin in New Delhi where the Foreign Minister will meet with the Vice President Hon Jagdeep Dhankar and her Indian Government counterparts, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government Northland housing investment to spark transformational change
    Over $10 million infrastructure funding to unlock housing in Whangārei The purchase of a 3.279 hectare site in Kerikeri to enable 56 new homes Northland becomes eligible for $100 million scheme for affordable rentals Multiple Northland communities will benefit from multiple Government housing investments, delivering thousands of new homes for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government investment safeguards Waitangi Treaty Grounds
    The Government is supporting one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most significant historic sites, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, as it continues to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. “The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are a taonga that we should protect and look after. This additional support will mean people can continue to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Battle of Ohaeawai remembered
    A memorial event at a key battle site in the New Zealand land wars is an important event to mark the progress in relations between Māori and the Crown as we head towards Waitangi Day, Minister for Te Arawhiti Kelvin Davis said. The Battle of Ohaeawai in June 1845 saw ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More Police deployed to the frontline
    More Police officers are being deployed to the frontline with the graduation of 54 new constables from the Royal New Zealand Police College today. The graduation ceremony for Recruit Wing 362 at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua was the first official event for Stuart Nash since his reappointment as Police ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further support for upper North Island regions hit by significant weather
    The Government is unlocking an additional $700,000 in support for regions that have been badly hit by the recent flooding and storm damage in the upper North Island. “We’re supporting the response and recovery of Auckland, Waikato, Coromandel, Northland, and Bay of Plenty regions, through activating Enhanced Taskforce Green to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • The Princess Royal to visit New Zealand
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has welcomed the announcement that Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, will visit New Zealand this month. “Princess Anne is travelling to Aotearoa at the request of the NZ Army’s Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals, of which she is Colonel in Chief, to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government and horticulture sector target $12b in exports by 2035
    A new Government and industry strategy launched today has its sights on growing the value of New Zealand’s horticultural production to $12 billion by 2035, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said. “Our food and fibre exports are vital to New Zealand’s economic security. We’re focussed on long-term strategies that build on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Cost of living support extended for families and businesses
    25 cents per litre petrol excise duty cut extended to 30 June 2023 – reducing an average 60 litre tank of petrol by $17.25 Road User Charge discount will be re-introduced and continue through until 30 June Half price public transport fares extended to the end of June 2023 saving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More Kiwis in work as rising wages match inflation
    The strong economy has attracted more people into the workforce, with a record number of New Zealanders in paid work and wages rising to help with cost of living pressures. “The Government’s economic plan is delivering on more better-paid jobs, growing wages and creating more opportunities for more New Zealanders,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government boosts fund for Auckland flooding
    The Government is providing a further $1 million to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced today. “Cabinet today agreed that, given the severity of the event, a further $1 million contribution be made. Cabinet wishes to be proactive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Cabinet focused on bread and butter issues
    The new Cabinet will be focused on core bread and butter issues like the cost of living, education, health, housing and keeping communities and businesses safe, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. “We need a greater focus on what’s in front of New Zealanders right now. The new Cabinet line ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Prime Minister to meet with PM Albanese
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins will travel to Canberra next week for an in person meeting with Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. “The trans-Tasman relationship is New Zealand’s closest and most important, and it was crucial to me that my first overseas trip as Prime Minister was to Australia,” Chris Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government makes first payment to Auckland Flooding fund
    The Government is providing establishment funding of $100,000 to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced. “We moved quickly to make available this funding to support Aucklanders while the full extent of the damage is being assessed,” Kieran McAnulty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government steps up to assist Auckland during flooding
    As the Mayor of Auckland has announced a state of emergency, the Government, through NEMA, is able to step up support for those affected by flooding in Auckland. “I’d urge people to follow the advice of authorities and check Auckland Emergency Management for the latest information. As always, the Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Poroporoaki: Titewhai Te Huia Hinewhare Harawira
    Ka papā te whatitiri, Hikohiko ana te uira, wāhi rua mai ana rā runga mai o Huruiki maunga Kua hinga te māreikura o te Nota, a Titewhai Harawira Nā reira, e te kahurangi, takoto, e moe Ka mōwai koa a Whakapara, kua uhia te Tai Tokerau e te kapua pōuri ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved following Cyclone Hale
    Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development and Employment, has activated Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG) in response to flooding and damaged caused by Cyclone Hale in the Tairāwhiti region. Up to $500,000 will be made available to employ job seekers to support the clean-up. We are still investigating whether other parts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • General Election to be held on 14 October 2023
    The 2023 General Election will be held on Saturday 14 October 2023, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “Announcing the election date early in the year provides New Zealanders with certainty and has become the practice of this Government and the previous one, and I believe is best practice,” Jacinda ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces resignation
    Jacinda Ardern has announced she will step down as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party. Her resignation will take effect on the appointment of a new Prime Minister. A caucus vote to elect a new Party Leader will occur in 3 days’ time on Sunday the 22nd of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago