4 Nov 2009

Labtests hits back at review demand

3:29 pm on 4 November 2009

Auckland firm Labtests has hit back at a group of doctors and nurses that is calling for an urgent and independent review of community laboratory testing services.

The company took over the bulk of the community laboratory service contract from Diagnostic Medlab Limited in September.

Procare has told Auckland's district health boards in a letter that Labtests' service falls short of the Auckland district health boards' assurance that standards would not suffer from the change in provider.

In its response, released on Wednesday, Labtests says it has met senior Procare staff weekly since September, and there is a vast difference between the letter and those meetings.

It says in the meetings the Procare agenda has been to help achieve improvements, but the agenda apparent in the letter is to try to influence and intervene in the contract.

The firm says it is making improvements, while subject to unprecedented scrutiny. It says it is meeting targets, and 73% of patients have reported the service is good or excellent.

GP meeting expresses lack of confidence

Meanwhile, about 150 doctors passed a vote of no-confidence in Labtests at a meeting on Tuesday night.

The doctors raised concerns about slow reporting and accuracy of results and the quality of Labtests' pathologists.

The invitation to the meeting specifically asked those in favour of a no-confidence motion to attend.

The resolution was passed by almost all the 70 GPs and nurses present, and 80 proxy voters.

Auckland District Health Board chairman Pat Snedden expects the service to significantly improve by Christmas.

Mr Snedden says a number of measures have been undertaken to ensure this, including clear requirements for the company to fulfill.

A New Zealand-based clinician takes up the chief executive role next week, he says.