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Safety review at hospital following shock attack

Wairarapa Hospital leaders are taking the recent safety breach in the emergency department seriously with a comprehensive review of procedures.

The review follows an attack on a patient with a machete in the hospital’s emergency department [ED] just before midnight on Saturday, March 30.

At the time, police and Health New Zealand-Te Whatu Ora [HNZ] spokespeople described the incident as “isolated”.

The review is already underway with a HNZ spokesperson confirming that the first of a series of meetings on the issue is scheduled for next week.

HNZ Wairarapa group operations director Kieran McCann said the organisation takes the safety of patients, visitors, and staff extremely seriously.

“There is a robust review process that occurs when any instance of harm occurs in our services or facilities,” McCann said.

“A review panel will include experts depending on the type of incident that occurs. A review enables us to determine what – if anything – we could have done differently. This process is being used to review the incident that occurred at Wairarapa Hospital during Easter.

“Meetings such as this are a standard part of any review process and are not open to the public or media as they involve discussions about private individuals and other information that may inform the review.”

McCann was unable to provide any further details, citing a need to protect the integrity of the process.

“We are not able to comment further at this time as it would not be appropriate to pre-empt the outcome of findings of the review,” he said.

The incident that gave rise to the current review involved a machete-wielding man allegedly entering the ED and then attacking a man with the weapon.

The victim reportedly suffered a severe laceration to his head and a fractured skull as a result of the attack, and required emergency surgery.

A 62-year-old man was arrested at the scene and subsequently appeared in Masterton District Court charged with multiple offences relating to causing grievous bodily harm. He was remanded in custody.

Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti has asked for a report on the incident to be included in a report on hospital security across New Zealand, including at EDs.

The government had temporarily boosted the number of security officers at emergency departments over the summer, with eight EDs subsequently keeping extra guards and others receiving funding as needed.

This funding is understood to be due to expire at the end of the financial year.

Shortly after the machete incident, Reti said he believed Wairarapa Hospital had received extra security until the end of February and defended the decision not to extend it.

“This is an isolated event; it’s not a common occurrence at Wairarapa and those EDs where the security was reduced after the summer programme, it was done on the basis of what is the likelihood, what is the track record, what is the history of having assaults at EDs and Wairarapa wasn’t one of those that came up,” he said.


  1. Been in the ED area? The doors are closed and controlled by the office behind a safety screen? And the orderly office is there as well?. There must be an
    emergency button in the office?. Someone must of let this person through?. Please don’t make the Masterton Hospital a PRISON.

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