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Statement from Dave Cull, Chair, SDHB - Colonoscopy Services

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A statement from Dave Cull, Chair, Southern District Health Board:  “The Southern DHB board today considered a report on colonoscopy services authored by Professor Ian Bissett and Kate Broome. This is a follow-up to a previous report by Mr Bagshaw and Dr Ding, and a series of recommendations received by Mr Andrew Connolly following his engagement with the service. 

“These reports respond to, and reflect long-standing and highly publicised concerns regarding the service.

“The report, its findings and comments on the recommendations by Southern DHB management can be found here: https://www.southernhealth.nz/sites/default/files/2020-10/2020-10-06%20SDHB%20Board%20Agenda_public.pdf

“On behalf of the Southern DHB I offer a sincere apology for lapses and inadequacies in colonoscopy services over the past several years, and this has been echoed by Chris Fleming on behalf of the management of the DHB. I acknowledge that these particularly affected the Southland community. Responsibility for these failings is shared by SDHB governance, management and clinicians.

“I acknowledge the learnings from the reviews that have taken place and the considerable discussion that has occurred to date. Thanks to the reviewers who have assisted this process, the many professional groups and individuals who have raised their concerns and everyone who has contributed to developing a thorough understanding of the current state of services. I particularly acknowledge the input of Ms Melissa Vining. Your voices have all been listened to and your concerns are acknowledged.

“While a significant amount of remedial work has occurred, it has been inadequate, and has lacked effective focus and urgency. However the Board is entirely committed to taking more effective action from here. Despite understandable concerns about past practice, our focus now must be on the future, to deliver the endoscopy care our community is entitled to.

“This involves establishing appropriate governance of the service through an oversight group which will report to the executive team, Hospital Advisory Committee and the Board. This requires independent, suitably qualified leadership and I am pleased to confirm Mr Andrew Connolly as chair in this role. Terms of Reference are being drafted with urgency, a clear, measurable action plan with timelines and Performance statistics agreed by oversight team will be developed.  A project manager will be appointed to ensure delivery of this. 

“I expect that all staff, at all levels of the organisation, will participate constructively in this journey. Relitigating past wrongs would only distract from the task ahead; that is, compliance with and delivery of the actions that are necessary to rebuild this service on the scale required.

“Our absolute commitment must be on rebuilding trust in a robust colonoscopy service for the people of the southern community. Achieving this is the joint responsibility of governance, management and clinicians and we must work together. Failure to do so will not be tolerated. Our communities deserve nothing less.”