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Canterbury SCL opens new $10 million medical laboratory

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Canterbury SCL opens new $10 million medical laboratory

Christchurch takes another significant step toward full recovery today (Monday 19 November) with the official opening of the new $10 million Canterbury SCL [CSCL] medical laboratory in Harewood.

CSCL lost its building in the February 2011 earthquake and has moved four times in the past 18 months. CSCL Chief Executive Dr Peter Gootjes says, “It’s fantastic from a service efficiency point of view, and for our staff, to finally all be in one place in a new state-of-the-art facility.”

Last year CSCL won a Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) service contract and has been partnering with the CDHB owned Canterbury Health Laboratories [CHL] to deliver the integrated laboratory service in Canterbury from April this year.

Dr Gootjes says he’s very proud of the fact that the CSCL was able to maintain quality laboratory services since the February earthquake.

“But it hasn’t been without a lot of hard work and cooperation right across the sector under very trying circumstances. Our staff have really gone the extra mile but I would also like to thank the staff at CHL for the help given in making a smooth transition.”

Dr Gootjes said a significant component of the joint effort to get the new laboratory completed was the strong relationship that CSCL has with the CDHB.

“The alliance we have with the CDHB is unique. It is both visionary and innovative, which has allowed us to make a huge commitment to Christchurch and New Zealand. We have a secure vision for the future here with the Southern Community Laboratories Group holding long-term contracts to provide pathology services to not only Canterbury, but also the Southern, South Canterbury, Nelson Marlborough, Hawke's Bay and Lakes District Health Boards.”

Canterbury District Health Board chief executive David Meates says that the vision for lab services in Canterbury has been to develop a patient-centric service with two laboratories, but only one interface delivering a high quality, cost effective service.

“We have made great progress in bringing about that vision and this new lab facility represents another giant step in the right direction.

“Canterbury SCL is to be congratulated for their astonishing resilience and adaptability through some challenging times. Canterbury SCL, working alongside our other alliance partners have turned a challenge into an opportunity and are helping create a better laboratory service that will stay attuned to the needs of Canterbury people into the future,” says Mr Meates.

The SCL Group operates 14 pathology laboratories in New Zealand and has annual revenue in excess of $80 million. It is owned by Healthscope New Zealand.

The new laboratory in Harewood employs eight pathologists and 150 scientific, technical and support services staff. In total, SCL employs 750 people in its New Zealand operation. The new Christchurch facility will process approximately 2700 samples a day.

“The new building was delayed by a couple of months because of extra strengthening work,” Dr Gootjes says.

“We now have a building not only planned specifically for the efficient delivery of laboratory services, but one that is fully compliant with the earthquake code, providing peace of mind for our staff and patients.”


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