Pathol­ogy lab bows out of race

Med­i­cal spe­cial­ist says de­ci­sion ‘lacks ro­bust fi­nan­cial anal­y­sis’

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

Aotea Pathol­ogy will not be the lab of choice for Porirua basin res­i­dents from Novem­ber, it was an­nounced re­cently in a con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sion.

The Cap­i­tal Coast, Hutt Val­ley and Wairarapa dis­trict health boards said on March 9 that South­ern Com­mu­nity Lab­o­ra­to­ries was the pre­ferred provider of in­te­grated hos­pi­tal and com­mu­nity lab­o­ra­tory ser­vices for all three.

Aotea Pathol­ogy with­drew its bid in Fe­bru­ary, leav­ing South­ern Com­mu­nity Lab­o­ra­to­ries the sole con­tender.

The As­so­ci­a­tion of Salaried Med­i­cal Spe­cial­ists crit­i­cised the de­ci­sion, as ‘‘flawed’’ and ‘‘lack­ing in ro­bust fi­nan­cial anal­y­sis’’.

South­ern Com­mu­nity Lab­o­ra­to­ries is wholly owned by Aus­tralian pri­vate med­i­cal ser­vices provider Health­scope.

The health boards have said the de­ci­sion will mean busi­ness as usual for peo­ple need­ing blood tests and other ser­vices, with premises likely to re­main the same.

Cap­i­tal & Coast and Hutt Val­ley health boards chair­woman Vir­ginia Hope said spec­i­fi­ca­tions for the in­te­grated hos­pi­tal and com­mu­nity lab­o­ra­tory ten­der in­cluded a new mul­ti­mil­lion- dollar, lab­o­ra­tory at Welling­ton Hos­pi­tal and up­graded equip­ment at Wairarapa, Hutt, and Kenepuru hos­pi­tals; im­proved com­puter sys­tems al­low­ing gen­eral prac­ti­tion­ers and hos­pi­tal spe­cial­ists ac­cess to all lab­o­ra­tory re­sults; and im­proved ac­cess to com­mu­nity blood col­lec­tion.

The new ser­vice was ex­pected to be im­ple­mented on Novem­ber 1. The three boards were ex­pected to save money from sub­stan­tial economies of scale, Hope said.

As­so­ci­a­tion of Salaried Med­i­cal Spe­cial­ists ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Ian Pow­ell said the process was flawed.

The three Welling­ton re­gional dis­trict health boards had failed to pro­vide any good fi­nan­cial anal­y­sis of the benefits, he claimed.

More than 70 per cent of de­ci­sions on pa­tient care de­pended on lab­o­ra­tory work and re­struc­tur­ing would have a ma­jor im­pact on health care he said.

The three health boards’ ser­vice in­te­gra­tion and devel­op­ment unit direc­tor, Ash­ley Bloom­field, de­clined to an­swer ques­tions on how long the con­tract pe­riod would be, call­ing the in­for­ma­tion com­mer­cially sen­si­tive

Dr Ash­ley Bloom­field: Con­tract length is com­mer­cially sen­si­tive.

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