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Laboratory Injunction Undermined by Minister

Media Statement For Immediate Release,
Monday 24 july 2006

“Laboratory Injunction Undermined by Health Minister’s Decision”

“Our case before the Employment Relations Authority due to be held later this week seeking to halt the intention of the Otago and Southland DHB’s to privatise their hospital laboratories has been withdrawn, primarily due to the Health Minister’s decision to allow the privatisation to proceed,”said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today.

“This dispute has largely been about the refusal of the Otago and Southland DHBs to consult and recognise the critical role of senior doctors in the organisation and design of health services in which they have unique expertise and experience. The Association was pleased that the Employment Court recognised this by issuing the interim injunction in May.”

“Unfortunately the Health Minister’s decision to allow the privatisation of the hospital laboratories to proceed seriously undermined the effect of the injunction. This made the contract between the two DHBs and Southern Community Laboratories legally binding and unconditional thereby making proper consultation futile.”

“This decision to privatise the hospital laboratories, which affects around 60-70% of all hospital outcomes, is both bad and retrograde. The negative impacts of private business interests controlling such a critical core health service may not become apparent until after those responsible for this decision have departed.”

“The hospital laboratory pathologists will, however, do their best to provide the highest quality service in this most unsatisfactory situation. We will continue to support and assist them,” concluded Mr Powell.

Ian Powell



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