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  • Administrative error resulting in lost opportunity for ACC claim

    Case notes
    A patient who was unaware he had asbestosis underwent a CT scan while being treated at a DHB Hospital. On the scan’s accompanying notes a radiologist noted previous asbestos exposure. This CT scan with accompanying notes was misfiled, for unknown reasons, and the patient’s diagnosis of asbestosis was not confirmed until autopsy.
  • Ministry of Health unreasonably disallowed visiting Australian resident access to publicly funded health services

    Case notes
    Whether the Ministry of Health was unreasonable to determine that medical treatment obtained by a visitor to New Zealand was not ‘immediately necessary’ and therefore not covered by reciprocal health agreement with Australia – Ombudsman considered the Ministry of Health erred – complaint sustained
  • Ministry of Health policy on reimbursement of expenses for house modification unreasonable

    Case notes
    Whether the Ministry of Health’s policy to require prior approval for funding for house modification was reasonable—Ombudsman concluded it was not
  • Decisions of PHARMAC to fund Opdivo and Keytruda

    Case notes
    A complaint was made to the Ombudsman that PHARMAC took too long to approve the May 2015 application to fund the metastatic melanoma cancer drug Keytruda.[1]
  • Health and Disability Commissioner not unreasonable to refer matter to Medical Council without advising complainant

    Case notes
    Whether the Health and Disability Commissioner legally or otherwise required to inform complainant of a referral made to the Medical Council of New Zealand—Ombudsman concluded HDC not bound to divulge this information
  • Ministry of Health agrees to increase what was an unreasonably low offer of ex gratia payment

    Case notes
    Ministry of Health’s decision in December 2016 to offer complainant $8000 by way of an ex gratia payment for mistakes made by the Ministry and lengths complainant had to go to in having the Funded Family Care hours reinstated unreasonable—Ministry of Health agreed to increase the amount following the complaint.
  • Ministry of Health’s decision following audit of aged care facility not unreasonable

    Case notes
    Ministry of Health’s HealthCERT not unreasonable to issue an aged care facility with ‘partial attainment’ in its August 2016 surveillance audit
  • Patient eligibility for publicly funded healthcare

    Case notes
    This case note concerns an investigation under the Ombudsmen Act 1975, resulting from a complaint to the Ombudsman about the failure of a district health board (DHB) to identify that a patient was ineligible to receive publicly funded health care before
  • District Health Board decision not to consult on provision of abortion services at a Hospital was unreasonable

    Case notes
    Whether the District Health Board was unreasonable to offer abortion services at a hospital without consultation with the local community
  • Pharmac decision not to fund drug was not unreasonable or contrary to law

    Case notes
    Whether PHARMAC decision not to fund a drug was unreasonable or contrary to law—Ombudsman concluded that this case did not reach the threshold of being unreasonable or contrary to law but made suggestions to PHARMAC about the matter
  • District Health Board’s processes regarding informed consent for assisted reproductive procedure not unreasonable

    Case notes
    Whether a District Health Board (DHB) failed to ensure the complainant received adequate professional advice before being required to sign a legal document surrendering substantial legal rights—whether that document was ‘informed consent’—Ombudsman concluded DHB had not acted unreasonably in this matter
  • Canterbury District Health Board received inadequate advice about historic place

    Case notes
    District Health Board’s decision to sell land around disused hospital in Hanmer Springs—requirements for consultation discussed—requirement for keeping open mind referred to—an inadequate summary of submissions provided to Board—Department of Conservation asked to reassess site
  • Ministry of Agriculture’s aerial spray programme had unreasonable impact on population

    Case notes
    Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries—Ministry of Health—actions in relation to the aerial spraying of Foray 48B (to eliminate the Painted Apple Moth) in West Auckland and Hamilton—inadequate advice to ministers about impact of spray operations
  • Report on complaints arising from aerial spraying

    Systemic investigations
    In June 2003 I received complaints from Ms Jane Schaverien, then of Auckland but now of Wellington, to investigate under the Ombudsmen Act 1975 the question whether the information given to Ministers by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry was inadequate regarding the possible dangers associated with the widespread concentrated use of Foray 48B in West Auckland, and in relation to the Ministry of Health, whether the Ministry had failed to pursue its responsibilities under the Health Act, 1956, or had abdicated those responsibilities in favour of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. In September 2003 I received a complaint from a Hamilton resident, Ms Michelle Rhodes, in generally similar terms regarding the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. These complaints arose from the aerial spraying operations carried out on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in West Auckland to eliminate the Painted Apple Moth, and in parts of Hamilton to eliminate the Asian Gypsy Moth. In relation to West Auckland these operations began on a comparatively small-scale in January 2002, they were continued on a much larger scale through to May 2003, and were finally completed in May 2004.
  • Ministry of Health reconsiders decision to charge for collation of information

    Case notes
    Requester sought draft and final copies of public health contracts for four financial years between Ministry of Health and 42 providers—Ministry agreed to release but subject to charge of $24,000—Ombudsman sought basis for charge—request for vast amount of information requiring substantial collation—charge applied in accordance with Ministry of Justice Charging Guidelines—however, Ministry had previously released part of requested information to an MP free of charge—Ombudsman did not consider it reasonable now to charge member of public for same information—Ministry agreed to review decision and release that particular information again free of charge and assist requester to refine request for outstanding information
  • Failure by health funding body to honour undertaking by predecessor funding body to fund gender reassignment surgery unreasonable

    Case notes
    The Health Funding Authority (disestablished in 2001) was required to consider a complaint against its predecessor (Regional Health Authority) about an agreement by RHA to fund gender reassignment surgery—the RHA had initially agreed to fund this surgery but then changed its policy—the Ombudsman concluded that it was unreasonable for the RHA not to honour this undertaking on the basis of a subsequent change in policy and that its successor, the HFA should remedy the unreasonable actions of its predecessor—the HFA agreed with the Ombudsman’s recommendations to fund the gender reassignment surgery in the manner originally approved—as the HFA was by this time disestablished the matter was passed to the Ministry of Health for completion
  • Medical Practitioners’ Disciplinary Tribunal outside Ombudsman’s jurisdiction

    Case notes
    Complaint about Medical Practitioners’ Disciplinary Tribunal decision to strike off a doctor and media coverage of the hearing—no jurisdiction to investigate—Ombudsman has discretion to investigate matters of administration with respect to the Health and Disability Commissioner’s investigation into the doctor’s medical practices but only if complainant has sufficient interest in the subject-matter of complaint and consent from the doctor
  • Health and Disability Commissioner unreasonably applied ‘gold standard’ when deciding on dental practitioner’s professional clinical standards

    Case notes
    Whether breach of professional clinical standards had been established—Health & Disability Commissioner (Code of Health & Disability Services Consumers’ Rights) Regulations 1996— whether Commissioner acted unreasonably in informing practitioner’s employer of alleged breach without first providing practitioner with adequate opportunity to respond—whether Commissioner unreasonable in failing to compensate practitioner
  • Ministry of Health decision not to respond to ‘open letter’ on baby food not unreasonable in circumstances

    Case notes
    Complainant wrote open letter to Ministry of Health expressing concerns about potential soy toxicity in baby food—no reply received—Ombudsman’s assistance sought—Ombudsman considered wording of letter—no specific information requested—Official Information Act did not apply—Ombudsman noted considerable correspondence on issue had already been exchanged between Ministry and complainant—open letter appeared to be a continuation of debate with Ministry—Ministry’s failure to respond unlikely to be unreasonable in the circumstances—Ombudsman exercised discretion under s.17(1)(b) Ombudsmen Act not to continue enquiries
  • Ministry of Health’s guidelines on interpretation of Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992 need clarification

    Case notes
    Ministry of Health guidelines on interpretation of Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, s 38(1)—guidelines advised broad interpretation—relevant case law suggested narrow construction—guidelines amended—Innes v Wong 3 NZLR [1996] 238
  • Crown Health Enterprise reminded to exercise discretionary powers reasonably

    Case notes
    Unreasonable decision to charge two fees where patient in hospital for period falling into two financial years
  • Area Health Board prevented by legislation to perform surgery

    Case notes
    Costs—unreasonable refusal to accept complainant’s payment of hip prosthesis, thereby delaying surgery
  • Allegations against Area Health Board not sustained by Ombudsman but Board initiates proceedings against TVNZ

    Case notes
    Public allegations of misdiagnosis and ill treatment of child—effect of publicity on those involved—examination of non-broadcast material—complaints not sustained, but broadcast material unbalanced
  • Area Health Board and its Review Committee handled complaint inadequately

    Case notes
    Inadequacy of complaint procedures and consent procedures for blood products—lack of consultation—revised procedures adopted