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The Hawke’s Bay DHB must undertake a detailed, transparent review of the cause of the sterilisation failure which led to at least 55 patients having inadequately sterilised surgical equipment used on them, National’s Health Spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.

“Mistakes happen, and they are generally the result of system failure rather than human error. But the health sector must do everything possible to ensure such events are rare, and that when they do happen they are dealt with promptly and fully, to ensure confidence in the health system is not undermined.

“I am particularly concerned at how this failure took ten days to be discovered. Far fewer patients would have been exposed to risk had it been picked up earlier, so we need to know why that’s the case.

“To help ensure confidence in the system is maintained the investigation into this failure must also be conducted in an environment of safety and openness and those involved must be able to speak freely about their actions or to raise their concerns.

“They need the confidence to come forward and speak frankly to ensure the relevant information is brought to light and the right lessons learned and necessary changes made.

“My thoughts and concerns are with the affected patients and their families who should be given every support through this stressful time.”

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