Health Minister and DHB at odds over Middlemore Hospital

Dr David Clark, Minister of Health.
Dr David Clark, Minister of Health. Photo credit: Newshub.

Leadership in charge of Middlemore Hospital and the Minister of Health are at odds over whether the Minister was informed of the extent of problems at Middlemore Hospital.

At the centre of the dispute: What the Minister described to Stuff as a "wodge of papers".

The papers were given to him during a visit to the hospital a month ago - March 13. During the visit, Health Minister David Clark he was told of the leaking sewerage, the rot and the mould in the Scott building. 

Crucially, he says he was not told of issues in the other buildings.

But the chief executive of the Counties Manukau District Health Board Gloria Johnson says those papers contained information about "similar problems in multiple buildings", she told Stuff.

An email she sent to board members said the documents given to Dr Clark and his advisor "spells out succinctly the scale and nature of the facilities issue," Stuff reports.

But Dr Clark takes issue with the issues with the buildings not being raised with him in person.

"When I visited Counties Manukau DHB on March 13 I was not told about any building issues other than with the Scott Building, which required re-cladding work (which I subsequently approved extra funding for)," he told Newshub.

"As I have said previously, I cannot understand why other issues were not raised with me directly during that visit.

"I would expect something of this seriousness to be raised with me in person. I have made my disappointment about that clear."

National's spokesperson on health Michael Woodhouse says given the documents, it's "not believable" for the Minister to claim he wasn't briefed before he visited the Scott building.

"These documents clearly indicate that the Minister was briefed as early as October and not only took no action at that time but claimed not to have been informed of the issues," Mr Woodhouse said.

"This raises serious questions of whether the Minister has misled the media, Parliament and the public, and I think they are owed an urgent explanation."


The former Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has repeatedly insisted he was not informed of the building problems at Middlemore.

"I spoke to the DHB regularly, I visited it regularly - was not told anything of the problems," he said.

The DHB told Newshub it will not be commenting on the issue.