Jonathan Coleman adamant he was never told of Middlemore Hospital's rotting buildings as health minister

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1 NEWS

Former health minister Jonathan Coleman is adamant he was never told of rotting buildings at Middlemore Hospital.

The former Health Minister is under fire for his claimed ignorance of four leaky buildings in the Auckland hospital.
Source: 1 NEWS

In recent weeks, it has been revealed buildings at the hospital have been affected by mould, leaks, power issues, asbestos and even raw sewage.

"Look,  if someone had said there were four buildings with leaky building issues at Middlmore, that would have gone straight to the top of the priority list," Dr Coleman told 1 NEWS this afternoon.

He said he was talking to a clinician at Middlemore over the weekend and they didn't know there were problems at the hospital.

Dr Coleman also said the Counties Manukau District Health Board was before Parliament's Health Select committee about six weeks ago on February 21, and "there was no mention of these major building problems". 

Dr Coleman says if he had been told "that would have gone straight to the top of the priority list".
Source: 1 NEWS

"So no, I did not know. And I can't know unless I'm told by officials."

Asked why officials didn't alert him to the issues, Dr Coleman said he would expect an issue that affects patient care to be raised.

"There's a clear process for raising capital bids up to the capital investment committee. It just is not credible to say that they were in some way scared of me and wouldn't have raised the issues."

The DHB refused to comment on the matter today.

Health Minister David Clark said Dr Coleman, "should have asked the right questions," but the problems at Middlemore Hospital go back to underfunding.

Dr Coleman is due to leave Parliament soon to take up a new role as CEO of a private health group.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told today's post-Cabinet news conference that "to call the deficit that our health services are facing an accounting issue is ludicrous and wrong".

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the unederfunding of health would take at least two election cycles to deal with. 

"We talked about a six-year plan to try and get back the $2.4 billion that the previous government had underfunded health by," he said.

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