Jonathan Coleman - Asshole of the Week | The Jackal

15 Sep 2017

Jonathan Coleman - Asshole of the Week

Jonathan Coleman is the most out of touch Minister currently in the National party. Not only did he blunder his way through the last budget, bungling the funding for DHB’s not once but twice, the ostrich with his head buried firmly in the sand is now shirking his Ministerial responsibilities.

Considering that there’s been a number of preventable deaths occur recently in our Hospitals, which have been linked to underfunding, this is entirely unacceptable. The Minister of Health must be available to provide the public with comment when things go wrong, especially when they go wrong because of government error.

Today, Rachel Smalley for the NZ Herald reported:

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman's arrogant, out of touch

I asked Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to come on the programme this morning to respond to some of the failings of Waikato Hospital, if you tuned in yesterday, you would have heard an interview with the Waikato DHB.

The DHB was damning of the health minister and said Waikato Hospital had a funding shortfall to the tune of $32.5 million, and it was a life-threatening situation.

And the DHB described a culture of spin coming from the ministry and the minister, and said everyone was under pressure to talk positively about a situation that was anything but. That pressure, the DHB said, comes from the top.

The health sector is far too important to simply try and cover up what's going wrong.

Yesterday, another tragic story. A baby who died at Waikato after the mother's caesarean section was bumped. There was only one theatre and an acute case took priority. And on Tuesday, you may remember, Waikato Hospital was forced to again cancel all elective surgery.

And yet the minister won't talk about this. It's one week out from an election, health is polling as the single biggest issue for New Zealanders, and all Jonathan Coleman will say about Waikato is "the key thing is, the hospital is coping".

The hospital is coping? Hospitals are clearly not coping as is evident by the numerous reports about their failures. Most are at capacity and under pressure staff in some of our largest Hospitals are turning patients away.

Clearly hospitals aren’t coping because in real terms their budgets have been cut by the National led government. They can no longer provide people with the services required, which is causing real pain and suffering including some deaths.

Last Friday, Radio NZ reported:

Mother of alcoholic man failed by Canterbury DHB 'disgusted' by his care

The 47-year-old died of alcoholic liver disease two days after being discharged on the orders of a doctor who had concluded he was soiling himself on purpose.

In his report released yesterday, Coroner Michael Robb noted that nurses and security guards questioned the decision, saying Mr Jones was too ill and had nowhere to go.

After lying in the bus stop for several hours, Mr Jones was brought into the emergency department, but not assessed.

Police took him to the Christchurch City Mission, where he began vomiting blood.

He was then readmitted to hospital, where he died two days later.

The Canterbury DHB is also hurting from a $13 million funding shortfall.

But if that death wasn't bad enough, the Minister has also refused to provide proper comment on the preventable death of a baby at Waikato Hospital.

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

Waikato District Health Board members irate at learning of baby death in news

A Waikato District Health Board member wants to know why the board did not know about the death of a baby at Waikato Hospital until the Herald broke the story yesterday.

Dave Macpherson said the board was not advised of "this terrible case" which happened in September last year - not December as previously stated - and he was now concerned there would be other serious cases the board did not know about.

"Had we been informed that the reason the baby died was due to a lack of delivery suites, after the hospital 'bumped' the planned C-section to cater for an acute case, we would have had the chance to address this problem earlier," Macpherson said.

But why had the problem occurred in the first place?

Macpherson outlined several areas where this is happening in his DHB:

• The Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman and board chairman Bob Simcock claiming that Waikato DHB could deliver a "break-even" budget for the 2017-18 year, when it is facing a $32.5 million deficit.

• Several delays in producing a report into chief executive Dr Nigel Murray's work expenses where concerns were raised over unexplained spending. The board was told in mid-July a report would take two weeks, but Murray remains on leave two months later as the investigation continues.

Not only is underfunding causing some serious problems in our Hospital's that the Minister is intentionally ignoring, but there’s also a report about potential fraud being delayed. I wonder who would benefit from such a delay until after the election?

Attempting to cover things up and failing to front while Hospital’s are clearly not coping is a sure sign that the Minister isn't fit for duty.

Jonathan Coleman is an out of touch fossil that needs to be consigned to the history books. That’s why he wins this week’s Asshole Award. If his continued failure in the health sector isn’t a good enough reason to change the government, I don’t know what is.