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Private Company Attempts to Block Appointment

Media statement

Private Company Attempts to Block Specialist appointment

“It is a serious worry that a private company, Southern Community Laboratory Services, has attempted to block the appointment to a much needed specialist haematology position with the Otago District Health Board,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. The position which has been advertised and applications received is to fill a third haematologist position at Dunedin Hospital. Subject to the approval of the Minister of Health, the Otago and Southland DHBs plan to privatise their hospital laboratories which will be taken over by Southern Community Laboratory Services.

“Although, at least for the moment, following protests, the private laboratory has backed off from this attempt, this has all the hallmarks of a shonky and financially risky deal. Even though the Health Minister has not responded to the privatisation proposal, the private company has in effect been given virtual power of veto over laboratory appointments. Haematology is closely aligned with the laboratory. The private company has a strong incentive to reduce costs at the expense of quality of service in order not to make a loss on the shaky deal.”

“This is a case of an attempt to ensure that private financial interests are given priority over the needs of the public of Otago. The tail is trying to wag the dog.”

“By allowing the private company the ability to veto appointments both it and the Otago DHB are acting as if the role of the Minister of Health is to simply rubber stamp their sweet-heart privatisation arrangement,” concluded Mr Powell.

Ian Powell


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