32 Oxford Terrace
Telephone: 0064 3 364 4160
Fax: 0064 3 364 4165
21 March 2019
Email: [FYI request #9567 email]; [email address];
Dear Mr Livne RE Official information request CDHB 10037
I refer to your email received dated 12 February 2019 requesting the following information under the
Official Information Act from Canterbury DHB. I note your clarification of 20 February 2019 i.e. “My
aim is to provide a more informed (free) way for people to assess risks of going into procedures. I might
provide this as a searchable database, so the number of procedures is not really of consequence.
I would like to have a list of surgical procedures over the last 5 years by clinical code along
with the number of complications or damages caused by each procedure.
We have collected and reviewed the information held the Canterbury DHB in response to your
request but we have decided that it is inappropriate to provide the data in the way you have
requested. Our reasons for this are as follows:
1. To provide the data on the number of complications only will not provide a context in which the
public will be able to reasonably understand the risks of undertaking various surgical procedures.
Where there are high volumes of surgical procedures, the number of complications may be
correspondingly high even though as a percentage of the total these may represent a very small
proportion of complications against the total volume.
2. The bare data does not provide sufficient context to enable the public to undertake an objective
evaluation of benefits versus the risk of undertaking a surgical procedure. Complications can vary
in their seriousness and need to be considered alongside the following factors:
o Complications may be related to patient co-morbidities at the time of treatment.
o Complications can be as a result of age and health status of the individual patient rather than
o Complications may be related to whether the procedure was undertaken as an acute/elective
o The raw data will not show whether the nature of the complication was minor or major
All of the above issues are taken into consideration and discussed with the patient by the surgical
specialist when offering treatment to each patient.
To provide the information to a level of detail that would resolve all of the issues identified above
would entail substantial research and collation.
We believe that simply publishing the data to a website could result in serious misinterpretation and
would not be in the public interest.
We are therefore declining your request under Section 18(f) of the Official Information Act i.e. “….that the information requested cannot be made available without substantial collation or
If you disagree with our decision to withhold information you may, under section 28(3) of the Official
Information Act, seek an investigation and review of our decision from the Ombudsman. Information
about how to make a complaint is available at www.ombudsman.parliament.nz;
or Freephone 0800
Please note that this response, or an edited version of this response, may be published on the
Canterbury DHB website after your receipt of this response.
Carolyn Gullery Executive Director
Planning, Funding & Decision Support