04 June 2010

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) has welcomed yesterday’s announcement by the Minister of Health of a review of the transition of community laboratory services in Auckland.

NZMA Chair Dr Peter Foley said: “We have been advocating for such a review for some time. There are major lessons to be learnt from the contracting process involved in the laboratory situation in Auckland, and the need to understand the major transition issues involved in changing  an integral health provider, which can be applied to other health contracts throughout the country.”

“These include the problems of sole provider contracts, and undue emphasis on cost versus quality. The NZMA was very critical of the Auckland process from the outset and we are looking forward to being consulted during the review.”

“We must do all we can to avoid the disruption of essential health services, as occurred in Auckland, so that the quality of patient care is not compromised,” said Dr Foley.

“Ultimately we need to ensure that health contracts are robust and that there is a national framework to govern DHBs’ health contracts so there is national consistency across all the DHBs.”