The medical injury paper in the NZ medical journal provides compelling evidence that highly preventable medical injury is the third leading cause of death in New Zealand, following vascular disease and cancer.

Highly preventable medical injury is also the leading cause of death in New Zealand in under 40 year olds killing substantially more than are killed on our roads.

Media reports that only 6% could have been prevented are false and misleading. 6% of injuries could have been absolutely prevented. Nearly half were deemed to be highly preventable.

The abstract of the paper published in the latest New Zealand Medical Journal says, "Most adverse events had minor patient impact, with less than 15% associated with permanent disability or death." 15% of 12.9% of 700,000 = 13,500 permanent disabilities. There are also more than 1,500 highly preventable deaths in our hospital system. [see attached]

In Australia more than 10,000 people die from preventable medical injury and more than 50,000 are permanently maimed. [see attached]

At an economic impact of 2.55 million dollars (used by government departments in economic impact assessments) highly preventable medical injury costs the New Zealand economy more than $4 billion dollars. That is more than ten times the economic impact of the leaky building syndrome....

The media might like to ask questions of the Minister of Health regarding the attached open letter to the Minister of Health. Why were over 35,000 admissions to our health system relating to adverse effects of healthcare stripped by officials from "The Burden of Injury in New Zealand" published by the Ministry of Health to inform the establishment of policy.

The attached PDF file was part of a paper presented at the recent Society for Risk Management conference in Wellington.

The fact that highly preventable medical injury is such a leading cause of death, disability and economic impact begs the question -- where is the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the failure of our health system? Three times more people die from highly preventable medical injury than on our roads.

For every road accident victim in A&E, there are five victims of adverse effects of their health care?

Where is the Royal Commission of Inquiry?

An engine blows up on an aeroplane causing no loss of life and the papers and TV headlines call for full inquiries...

The equivalent of five jumbo jets crash in our health system from highly preventable causes killing all on board and where is the call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry?

This is not about 'old sick' people -- it's about the third leading cause of death in NZ.

Ron Law
Beyond Alternative Solutions
09-832 4773