Do we need public access to doctor’s performance data?

The consumer leader at the Health Quality and Safety Commission, Chris Walsh, admits to being nervous when she faced a surgeon for a mastectomy.

“Apart from all the anxiety that I was going through and all the stress, I looked at him and I thought to myself, I don’t know you, I’ve never met you before. Who are you and how good are you at what you do?”

Marlborough woman Lynn Weir is also nervous following the death of her sister Rachel Riddell following gallbladder surgery several years ago.

“We ask more questions about who’s going to fix our cars than we do about someone who we’re putting our life into their hands,” she said.

Medical Council chairman Andrew Connolly.

Photo: Supplied
The Medical Council said in a discussion paper that Ombudsman Ron Paterson ruled late last year that Tairawhiti District Health Board should release surgeon-specific case volume data.

It said it was also aware of further requests of a similar nature from various media outlets to DHBs under the Official Information Act.

Council chairman Andrew Connolly said league tables, which could be compiled with such information, were misleading.

“If we go and put out just a league table that simply says six deaths out of 250, you know six for 250, a bit like a cricket score, it is frankly meaningless,” he said. Read more »

Pressure on Key and English to stop dicking around with the budget

ACC levies have been kept artificially high for longer to close the government’s shortfall due to poor dairy returns.

ACC levies paid by employers and employees should be cut, the Labour Party says.

From April 1 the ACC Work Account levy will drop from 95 cents per $100 of earnings to 90c.

But ACC itself recommended it be cut to 75c and said the Earners’ Account levy, paid by employees, should be reduced to $1.20 from $1.26, Labour says.

An independent report by Infometrics found these levies could sustainably be reduced even further, saving businesses $350 million a year.

“We estimate that funding ratios consistent with the ACC targets could be achieved with levy rates of $1.14 for the Earners’ Account and 69c for the Work Account from April 1, 2015.”

This would create 660 to 700 jobs and boost the economy by $70M, it said. Read more »

Bill dicks John’s books

A surplus was promised, and by whatever underhanded means possible, a surplus will be delivered.

The Government has been accused of massaging its books to ensure it reaches its goal of a budget surplus this year.

Treasury papers obtained by ONE News show that delaying spending on the Canterbury rebuild and increasing alcohol taxes are ways of boosting the figures, with current forecasts indicating the Government is set to miss the surplus by half a billion dollars due to falling dairy prices.

“To delay expenditure simply for what amounts to a political target is just offensive,” Council of Trade Unions economist Bill Rosenberg said.

Other Treasury suggestions include slowing down $33m in overseas aid spending by a year, increasing charges levelled at overseas visitors, and holding back on $100m in proposed cuts to ACC levies.

You can see why SkyCity and Team New Zealand are up against it. ¬† They are looking at squeezing the last few million out of the books just to make sure the bad dairy results can be compensated for. ¬† Read more »


The killer cow-led revolt against humans cost $20M in 2013-2014

Killer cows

They are out to get us, and ACC has the proof hat the cows are after us, but they are playing it down by mentioning all the other species first!

More than 50,000 people made ACC claims for animal-related injuries in 2013/2014, including everything from shark attacks, seal bites and even a laceration under an eye caused by a passing magpie.

About $20 million was claimed and dog and horse-related injuries proved most costly, according to ACC figures released to NZ Newswire.

The dog attacks included a canine running into a person’s leg, causing it to be twisted, and another hitting a person in the face. Read more »


Anything that is free is abused by the troughers

It’s is absolutely no surprise some of us are absolute cry baby troughers that run to ACC for the most trivial injuries

ACC’s “most unusual injuries” list has been revealed – and they cost the corporation $12.8 million in claims last year.

They include more than 5000 Kiwis who hurt themselves so badly going to or from the toilet that they needed medical treatment worth $6.2m.

Seriously?  Ok, here are some hints:  did you slip on pee on the floor?  Claim denied.  Were you drunk?  Claim denied.  Did you have a prolapse because you sat on the toilet playing with your phone too long?  Claim denied.

For 120 people their participation in the haka ended painfully last year. Another nine blamed a radio-controlled helicopter for their injuries, and for 200, the involvement of a grandmother spelled disaster. Exactly how was not revealed.

Well, well well.  It seems we already have ACC claims for drone injuries.   And if the Haka claims 120 victims, then we must clearly call for licensing!  Not licensed?  Claim denied.

Forty people were hurt taking part in a “super-hero” activity.

Now, these people may be super heroes, but you need to know your specific skill. ¬†So, if you can freeze someone with a stare, do not leap from buildings. ¬†Claim denied. ¬† Read more »

Goverment expected to pay up for unwanted children


Deirdre Mussen explains

Three children were enough for a mother who went into hospital to have her tubes tied in 1997. But she is now a mother of five, and says the botched sterilisation has had “huge financial implications”.

“They’re good kids, but if I had stopped at number three, I would be kicking up my heels now. Instead, I’ve still got child commitments.”

The woman is one of at least 11 pursuing ACC for the cost of raising children as a result of failed sterilisations. Read more »


National tax cuts? Yep: delivered

Things rarely get cheaper these days, so this is good news for everyone:

Motorists will be $135 on average better off from next July after confirmation of cuts to ACC vehicle levies.

Vehicle levies will be based on safety ratings from next year, meaning those who drive safer cars will pay less, while employers will also receive a slight cut.

ACC Minister Judith Collins said today that the average vehicle levy would fall from about $330 to $195 a year from next July.

This included reductions to the licence fee and a drop of 3 cents a litre off the petrol levy, she said.

Dropping the cost on transport levies is actually very significant. ¬†Although it is a small amount per litre, it adds up across all drivers and kilometers travelled. ¬†It takes the pressure off increasing transport costs which will positively effect everything – including groceries. ¬† Read more »

OIA request from ACC validates our Killer Cow crusade



Charlie Mitchell at Fairfax has joined our expose on killer cows

Magpies, alpacas, pigs and goats were together cited in nearly 500 claims, at a cost of about $200,000.

One claimant was head-butted pursuing a pig. Another tried to lift a very heavy pig, resulting in back pain.

An alpaca getting a pedicure on its nails lashed out and kicked a claimant’s hand; a nasty magpie caused a cut under an eye.

The numbers reflect each instance where the animal’s name was recorded in the claim accident description. Read more »


Thanks Len

Len Brown’s Unitary Plan is pandering to Len’s natural constituency in South Auckland.

What is proposed is out of control ridiculous

A couple have been told to apply to 14 different iwi to keep the water running to their home.

Brent and Jennifer Tassell will need approval to renew resource consent on a bore hole that has been operating for 10 years, supplying water to eight Puhoi homes.

The bore draws water from 305m underground and is the only source of water for the properties in Slowater Lane, on the northern outskirts of greater Auckland.

“It’s a hole in the ground that’s been there for 10 years,” said Jennifer. “It’s completely over the top for our situation.”

Under the draft Auckland Unitary Plan, all applicants for resource consent for new or existing developments must apply to iwi for them to assess whether it would have an adverse effect on mana whenua.

Who needs the Resource Management Act to stifle the ecomomy when you can have your local Iwi do it for you? ¬† Read more »

Ratbag bludger nailed cheating ACC

A bludger has been caught defrauding ACC.

I hope ACC is seeking repayment of his fraudulently obtained benefits.

An Ashburton man who pretended to need a wheelchair to continue claiming ACC payments has been sentenced to a seven-month stint of home detention.

Leslie Tamateatu Urquhart-Barrett, 55, would use a wheelchair when he went to the doctors but was seen driving and walking unaided during his everyday activities.

In the Christchurch District Court this week Urquhart-Barrett was ordered to pay more than $4000 in reparation and about $3000 in court costs.

The Ashburton truck driver injured his back and shoulder in a workplace accident in 2006. He received weekly compensation until August 2010.¬† Read more »