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Calls to extend life-saving training

The Government must ensure all health sector workers are not only be trained to routinely check for medical identification bracelets but have access to critical online patient information, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.

“The tragic death of an 80-year-old who was prescribed a drug her MedicAlert bracelet showed she was allergic to, has prompted other patients to come forward with similar stories of having information ignored by paramedics.

“The Health and Disability Commissioner has recommended a policy be established to ensure routine checking for MedicAlert ID, while the Foundation itself has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning to have Government agencies linked into its secure online data system.

“MedicAlert has been operating in New Zealand for more than 50 years. Around 140,000 people wear its internationally-recognised identity bracelet. They don’t do it for fun. They do it because it could save their lives.

“The Government cannot ignore the warnings. It is perfectly reasonable for New Zealanders to expect their health providers would take notice of a medical alert and that all health, medical and paramedic staff would have access to potentially lifesaving information.

“It is also perfectly reasonable to expect the Government makes sure they all do so in future.”