Shots have been fired over surgical figures, with the Health Minister accusing Labour’s Annette King of misleading Parliament by claiming Auckland DHB had raised its pain threshold for patients needing surgery.
Auckland DHB has hit back saying it has not, and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has accused King of deliberately “fudging the facts’.
Misleading the house is a serious offence, which in some situations is dealt with by the privileges committee and the House has the ability to punish someone for contempt if that person is found to have deliberately misled it.
It is not clear that King deliberately misled Parliament. She may have been genuinely confused herself. But she should admit her mistake.
The allegations centred on figures tabled in the house last week, which King said showed Auckland DHB had lifted the points threshold for patients to qualify for hip and knee surgery from 50 points in 2013, to 70 points.
But Auckland DHB has disputed their use, saying Labour’s research arm asked two different questions over the two information requests, with the 2015 request only asking for the average [Clinical Priority Assessment Criteria] score for those who had qualified.
“This is a different question, and refers to the average acuity (severity of the condition) for patients who had received surgery for their hip or knee. We said 70.
“This is not the threshold for treatment,” a DHB spokesman said.
“The requests were for two different pieces of information which were provided. The two responses are not comparable as the request was for two different pieces of information.
One is a minimum, and one is an average. King is absolutely wrong in comparing the average in 2015 with the threshold or minimum in 2013.