Third Middlemore patient who shared with COVID case slams hospital's management

The third patient at Middlemore Hospital who shared a room with a COVID positive man says it was obvious the hospital was poorly prepared, calling the management of the case "a major mistake".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has accepted we'll need to "see how we can do better".

Hospital staff are taking all precautions in the COVID-exposed Edmund Hillary block. 

The third roommate of the positive case is still there and reflecting on what happened. 

"This is a major, major mistake really," they exclusively told Newshub. "All I want to say is they need to really be careful."

Newshub Investigations reporter Michael Morrah has now spoken to all three patients who were in the room with the COVID-positive man. Their stories of the case's symptoms are consistent. 

On Monday we heard from Keith, who said the COVID-19 infected man "was coughing and spluttering. You could hear the mucus".

The on Wednesday night, Jamie said they could "hear his lung gurgling, real bad lungs".

And tonight, the third room-mate agreed with them.

"I notice that and the other guys, same. They noticed that he was coughing."

The third patient questions the hospital's level of planning around the case.  

"If there was a plan for him and he needed to be tested and everything, they shouldn't be bringing him here," he told Newshub.

The patient said the COVID-19 infected man was in the same room as them for "more than eight hours".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says when it comes to the Middlemore incident - authorities need to learn.

"We'll always be willing to look back, reflect and see what could be done better," she said.

The DHB says they couldn't move the patient as they had no space - the hospital's at 90 percent occupancy.

The hospital's Medical Services director Dr Vanessa Thornton says it's been a long-standing problem. 

"It's pretty much full at the moment. So people are still coming in with significant conditions," she said.

"Occupancy has been a real problem for Middlemore Hospital over the last probably couple of years."

But the Director General Dr Ashley Bloomfield gives the New Zealand health system the thumbs up.

"The health system has been preparing for a surge like this and the Auckland region has coped very well," he said.

Auckland resident Beth's sister was in the same block at Middlemore when the Delta outbreak began. 

She was still on IV antibiotics when she was asked to leave early.

"The Doctor said 'I'm sorry but we need to discharge you... and he said we need to make room for COVID cases," Beth told Newshub.

Beth's sister left - but had to be readmitted a few days later. She says COVID has exposed a broken health system.

"Then when we do have say a pandemic, we have to send home very, very sick people to cope with it. Well, that just isn't acceptable," Beth said.

The third patient doesn't think what he was exposed to is acceptable either, but he's grateful he's passed the initial round of testing unscathed. 

"I've got two negative tests."

The Counties Manukau DHB has given Newshub an insight into just how busy it was when the positive result came back on Sunday. 

In the ward where the patient was, there was capacity for 30 patients and 28 beds were full. 

The only remaining beds were in double rooms. 

A spokesperson says the hospital remains “extremely busy”. 

"Staff are working incredibly hard and doing the most with the resources available."

The DHB disputes the claim it has discharged patients early to help make more space.

"We have not discharged any patients simply to create bed capacity."