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This section contains media releases released a little while ago. Please note that due to the long time when some of these were released images have been removed and some links might no longer work.

April 20, 2015

West Coast DHB apologises to Gunter family

The West Coast District Health Board has unreservedly apologised to the Gunter family for the tragic death of Matthew, Chief Executive David Meates says.

The Office of the Health and Disability Commissioner [HDC] has released its final decision on the death of 15-year-old Matthew Gunter in November 2012.

"We deeply regret that in this instance our systems did not support staff responsible for caring for Matthew to provide care of an acceptable quality. The West Coast DHB accepts all the HDC's findings," David Meates said. "We have made significant progress in implementing changes which will reduce the possibility of something similar happening in the future.

"When there is a serious adverse event such as this, the DHB carries out an internal review called a 'Root Cause Analysis' to understand what - if anything - could be done differently in future to improve care and minimise the risk of harm to patients."

Some of the changes the DHB has implemented include:

  • Standardisation of paediatric emergency trolleys
  • Comprehensive resuscitation training across the system [which will be provided on an ongoing basis]
  • Ongoing training for nurses on monitoring, documentation and critical thinking
  • A number of policies and procedures have been developed or updated to reflect recommendations and to guide and support staff in their delivery of care
  • Reduced numbers of locums working on the Coast and improved orientation for locums

"Throughout this review process we have been working with the Gunter family to ensure they are kept updated about the work we are doing and to incorporate their feedback. I am confident that this process will result in improved care and better outcomes for patients," Mr Meates says.


For more information please contact:

Lee Harris,
Senior Communications Advisor
West Coast District Health Board
t: +64 27 836 1528

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