07 July 2010

The NZMA has welcomed the announcement by the Minister of Health Hon Tony Ryall that DHBs will no longer be charging patients for laboratory services ordered by private specialists.

NZMA Chair Dr Peter Foley said “We have always opposed this arrangement where a few DHBs set in place a separate charging regime to the rest of the country. In a country of 4.4 million people we need national consistency of access to services so that all patients, no matter which DHB they live in, have the same level of funded support, and the Ministry’s decision is significant in this regard.”

Dr Foley said “The previous arrangement was introduced without a national policy, and without proper consultation. It unfairly disadvantaged the patients of private specialists, with the result that either some did not get tests they needed, or they went back into the overloaded public system”.

The NZMA has strongly advocated for this return to sensible policy that also supports the symbiotic role of private and public health providers.