Pathology lab bows out of race
Medical specialist says decision ‘lacks robust financial analysis’
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.