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What the owners didnt know: unsafe care, unsafe driving, unsafe buses

by Lindsay Shelton
It’s taken an audit and a court case to uncover flaws in the organisation of two big companies which provide important services to Wellingtonians. One of the companies has admitted it was at fault. The other one (“we’re not perfect”) is denying responsibility.

Call it a retirement village or a rest home. But a damning audit report this morning shows that Ryman’s huge Malvina Major establishment in Khandallah (which advertises “the very best of resthome and hospital care”) has been failing to give adequate care to its residents. (Patients?)

The audit was carried out by the Ministry of Health after a complaint from the daughter of one of the residents. The report finds fault with the care given to all the residents. “All complaints were substantiated, and Malvina Major Retirement Village is required to undertake the corrective actions.”

Since the audit, the village manager has resigned. Ryman Healthcare’s Simon Challies says an acting manager and clinical services manager are now training staff and making changes at the rest home. “We accept the findings, because we identified some of the issues when we investigated the complaint ourselves . . . we were disappointed with what was found, it was mainly documentation issues and it wasn’t good enough.”

Disappointed in their own procedures? Issues identified only after a complaint was investigated?

Monitoring is to be undertaken by the ministry and the Capital & Coast District Health Board. The board’s executive director of service integration, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, says progress will be monitored stringently. But what was happening before the audit? Why didn’t Ryman have systems to monitor the adequacy of its care? Was the health board previously involved with any monitoring?

Blaming others is the chief executive of NZ Bus Zane (“we’re not perfect”) Fulljames. One of his bus drivers has been convicted of driving while drunk. In the print edition of the DomPost (but not online) Mr Fulljames is quoted as saying it wasn’t the fault of his company that it hired an alcoholic with a previous drink-driving conviction. The DomPost reports that Mr Fulljames takes no responsibility for hiring the drunk bus driver. He blames the NZ Transport Agency which, he says, is supposed to carry out a “fit and proper person check” when anyone applies for a licence to drive a bus.

This, of course, is a reminder that the Transport Agency and the police have been carrying out checks of NZ Bus itself – two sets of checks, in fact. In May and again last week, these checks found unsafe buses and ordered them off the road. After the first round of checks, the Agency said “it was satisfied that … maintenance programmes were being developed and enacted to ensure continued compliance.” But last week’s checks showed a different story.

Even if he disclaims responsibility for his drivers, Mr Fulljames can’t pass the buck about the unsafe buses.

1 comment:

  1. Elaine Hampton, 4. September 2013, 16:48

    More staff and better wages would solve this to a large degree.
    Pay a living wage. People don’t have to work two jobs and become exhausted. More people stay in the job longer and training costs are reduced. Contented staff work better
    Come one, Ryman: you publish big profits.