Re­sults are in on lab test case

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

A two-and-a-half-year stoush over Auck­land’s $560 mil­lion lab test con­tract has fi­nally come to an end.

The Supreme Court has ruled not to hear cur­rent provider Di­ag­nos­tic Med­lab’s ap­peal against a Court of Ap­peal de­ci­sion that handed the con­tract back to Labtests last year.

Labtests, owned by Aus­tralianHealth­scope, were awarded the con­tract by the Auck­land Re­gional District Health Boards in 2006.

But a High Court re­view in 2007 over­turned that de­ci­sion af­ter it ruled for­mer Auck­land District Health Board mem­ber Tony Bierre was in­ap­pro­pri­ately in­volved with Labtests.

Di­ag­nos­tic Med­lab chief ex­ec­u­tive Dr Arthur Mor­ris says he’s ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed the Supreme Court found against the com­pany.

While it will still pro­vide the na­tional cer­vi­cal screen­ing ser­vice for Auck­land and take on pri­vate con­tracts, it would have to re­duce in size con­sid­er­ably.

He says while it’s likely many of his staff will go to work for Labtests be­cause of their spe­cialised skills, they’ve been stead­fast in their sup­port for the com­pany.

“Our staff have been in­cred­i­bly loyal over this roller­coaster ride.”

One of his con­cerns is the po­ten­tial re­duc­tion in col­lec­tion cen­tres, which he feels could make life dif­fi­cult for the pub­lic.

“There are only so many op­tions for peo­ple,” he says.

Health­scope di­rec­tor of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment Joe Czyzewski says the num­ber of col­lec­tion sites could drop.

“While we may end up with marginally less col­lec­tion cen­tres, they will be big­ger with more bleed­ing chairs to min­imise the wait.”

He says the cen­tres will be based at more eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble lo­ca­tions.

Mr Czyzewski says staffing num­bers will re­main sim­i­lar to what they are now and he hopes Di­ag­nos­tic Med­lab staff will con­sider work­ing for Labtests.

Auck­land Re­gional District Health Boards chair­man Geraint Martin says dis­cus­sions are un­der way with the two com­pa­nies to de­ter­mine when an ex­act han­dover will take place.

Labtests ex­pects its Mt Welling­ton-based test­ing fa­cil­ity to be ready by Au­gust.

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