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Community to benefit from new laboratory services

10 June 2005

DHB & HB community to benefit long-term from new integrated laboratory services agreement

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board chair, Kevin Atkinson, announced today that community laboratory services for the region will be provided by Hawke’s Bay Pathology, a new partnership bringing together the resources of Southern Community Laboratories and MedLab – two organisations who currently provide lab services to the district health board and the public.

Kevin Atkinson said the Board had identified a need to change the way community laboratory services were contracted in Hawke’s Bay, as the existing arrangements were not sustainable for the long-term. “The cost of lab testing has continued to grow, and in the last financial year alone the DHB spent over $7million on GP-referred lab tests.

“With this new joint venture company, we expect to benefit from economies of scale, which will reduce expenditure and free up money to invest in front-line health services.

“From the public’s perspective there will be no change to the way they access lab services – however, the financial advantages to the DHB will, over time, benefit the community. We are looking forward to working with Hawke’s Bay Pathology on a number of quality improvement and population health projects, which we believe will lead to better outcomes for Hawke’s Bay people.

“This contract will provide certainty to us as health funders, and sets a benchmark for further integration of services in other parts of the country. The contract is for five years, with a five year right of renewal, “ Kevin Atkinson said.

Mr Atkinson said it would be ‘business as usual’ for the Hawke’s Bay Hospital Laboratory.

Hawke’s Bay Hospital laboratory manager, Ash Fitchett, said the DHB looked forward to working closely with the new joint-venture company on a range of projects in the future.

Hawke’s Bay Pathology chief executive, Dr Bruce van den Heever, said his team was looking forward to developing an integrated laboratory service for the Hawke’s Bay community.

“We will be pooling together all the resources from Southern Community Laboratories and Medlab to create a dynamic laboratory organisation able to build on the already high quality service currently provided to the public and clinicians.

“Our vision is to create a laboratory centre of excellence for the health care professional and the public of Hawke’s Bay,” Dr van den Heever said.

ENDS

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