Two “auditors” from the Technical Advisory Service (TAS), one an Australian palliative medicine specialist and the leader a non-clinician, were in Hawke’s Bay last week to investigate complaints about care at Cranford Hospice.

TAS is a shared service used by a number of North Island DHBs to conduct “independent” reviews of program performance.

Since Hawke’s Bay DHB staff has dismissed complaints about Cranford as either “ancient history” or based on uninformed innuendo, but is nevertheless the entity to whom the audit will be delivered, it remains to be seen exactly how much impact this review will have.

The auditors are presently writing their draft report based upon interviews they conducted last week with nurses and others, after spending the weekend with Cranford management.

If there is anyone who would still like to come forward and speak with the audit team, they must do so by the end of this week. The lead auditor is Melissa Bailey. She can be reached at (04) 801-2783, 027-245-5235, or

Perhaps contrary to what DHB Board members expect, the auditors appear to be operating from a very limited brief (the brief has not been made public).

The auditors say they are looking narrowly at the specifics of the complaints that were recently brought to the notice of the Health & Disabilities Commissioner. However, the specific complaints “officially” filed are merely symptomatic of an unhealthy management culture at Cranford supported by Presbyterian Services over a considerable period of time. Here is the brief BayBuzz recommended.

Whether or not the auditors will address the full range of management and governance issues — and how DHB Board members respond if they do not — is the million dollar question.

Once the draft report is written by the audit team, it will be submitted both to Cranford management and to DHB executives for their comments and response. Then a final report will be prepared. Left murky is how the auditors will evaluate management’s response. For example, the auditor would not confirm that the original complainant would have an opportunity to address any Cranford or DHB staff comments before the final report is completed.

And of course no one — auditors or DHB — have indicated whether they will release the final report to the public.

Meantime, we have learned that it’s business as usual at Cranford, with management — apparently presuming they will survive this immediate nuisance — threatening a full investigation into who on the Cranford staff has “leaked” information to outside parties like BayBuzz.

Another reason not to feel sanguine about this process.

Ultimately, whether this audit is deemed sufficient in scope and depth, as well as whether it is actioned, will be in the hands of the Hawke’s Bay DHB Board. They should have the final report in hand by the end of April, according to the lead auditor. May should be interesting.

Tom Belford

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  1. To pre-judge and to criticise the process of the Audit of Cranford Hospice,at this early stage,smacks of the incredible bias Bay Buzz has revealed in its handling of this matter.

    I am saddened, deeply saddened by all that has come to pass over this issue.

    The paramount and over-riding point for me is that Cranford Hospice, the institution, is able to continue into the future to deliver the very best in palliative care. And from my observations that is exactly what is happening now, as it has done over many years.

  2. Fair comment by Diana Williams. BayBuzz has always worked on the principle that the best time to put the boot in is when the adversary is down. It may be dead trout at Patangata – a real bad look so why wait for the cause of death to be determined; an odour problem at the HDC wastewater treatment plant (a “fiasco”) that deals with sewerage from about 50,000 people; a stoush outside a Havelock North bar by the then financial promoter of the Regional Sports Park and even though it had nothing to do with the merits or otherwise of the Park it obviously was an embarrassment to the Mayor; a water quality problem with the Tahurua that suddenly has become an issue. And so it goes.

    Stuff happens, and it can’t happen fast enough for Tom Belford. It may be a problem for a local council that needs addressing, but it’s mother’s milk to Tom. To mix my metaphors, BayBuzz wheels overhead waiting for a faltering step. Bay Buzzard maybe. Most of us have got better things to do with our time.

  3. Perspicacity is really fundamental to credibility. When a person cannot discern what is or is not a ridge and can support further development up TeMata Peak on that basis, and when questioned about further non compliance ‘the company’ (?’ pre Lawrence’s rule’) are able to say, ‘we are capable of making our own decisions’ – where is the accountability. It really indicates a cavalier disregard for such.

    Or when you hear of Council’s cost cutting approaches and see four trucks (albeit ‘toy’ trucks) four men and a rotary hoe tending a garden bed under Lawrence’s window (a wee whiles back), where is the credibility? Where is the accountability?

    So, well may you support Dinah, Ewan, if indeed Dinah and Diana are one and the same.

    ‘Stuff’ doesn’t just happen. The new sewage art works were stated to be functioning according to specifications. If this is the case and the release of H2S (sewer gas) is such that the Regional Council ‘forced’ their closure – given the intimate relationship between councils – suggests the health safety standards were well and truly breached … so not just a bad smell Ewan, although we may never know, because the Regional Council have become so precious about releasing the data from their air quality monitors. Public information, I would have thought.

    Obviously Ewan a poorly informed ‘green-driven sustainable’ decision of questionable function and a potentially dangerous one … and no accountability?

    And the Regional sports Park, also built in an SO2, H2S rich environment … for how long can our decision makers be so dismissive of the potential harm done to others by condoning unsafe practices on the questionable basis of preserving the economic base of the area, and in the face of escalating abysmal health statistics.

    If the EPA standards for the use of lime sulfur were imposed here (48 hours no entry), ‘organic’ orcharding would simply be impracticable (aside from our climate being too temperate for such) … where is ERMA on this issue? Where is OSH? Where are our environmental protectors the Regional Council? How can they condone off site spray drift on such a mass scale?

    Perhaps if all those with cars needing a repaint were to send their accounts to the Regional Council, there may be some action (because caustic lifts paint) … perhaps?

    And of dead trout? The matter of raw sewage entering the Tukituki, which is being addressed, so they say, albeit that it is a long-term project … and this at the same time as looking at making dairy farming in the upper reaches viable (aside from effluent disposal) which will, I am sure, be taken care of by the tutai Tukituki and will only be minimally differentiable from the Clive milli-screened out fall.

    Knowledge and information are an imperative in being able to participate constructively in any community, BayBuzz is certainly endeavouring to do this and succeeding to a greater or lesser extent depending on perspective.

    So given much of the above-described scenario a functional Cranford, ‘able to continue into the future to deliver the very best in palliative care’ is increasingly an imperative.

    To exude stuff from the gills Ewan, is not a good look.

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