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Focus on community laboratory services

Focus on community laboratory services

Dr Tony Bierre has resigned from the Auckland District Health Board to focus on the implementation of the community laboratory service contract.

ADHB Board chair Wayne Brown says Dr Bierre went beyond the statutory requirements in standing down from all board business six months prior to the community laboratory RFP and was not privy to any information or participated in any discussion or decisions regarding the tender.

Dr Bierre is part of the Labtests Auckland Ltd consortium which has been awarded the community laboratory contract for the three regional District Health Boards. The process was overseen and signed off by Audit New Zealand.

"While he is legally entitled to come back to the Board now that the tender process is complete, Dr Bierre has decided to focus on the implementation of this major service for the Auckland region," says Mr Brown.

"While we appreciate his reasons for standing down from the Board we shall miss the valuable contribution he has made in a wide range of health issues confronting the Board."

The Board was briefed on the community laboratory services at meetings earlier today.

Board member and GP Dr Di Nash acknowledged the importance of the tender and congratulated the tender team on the outcome.

She says that when she joined the Board five years ago she signaled the need for radical reform in community laboratory services.

Dr Nash says the amount of profit that has been going out of the country with the current provider is money that could be well spent on the health of the people in the Auckland region.

Lead CEO for the laboratory strategy and ADHB CEO Garry Smith says for the first time there is documented transparency and accountability in the community laboratory contract.
Labtests Auckland Ltd has provided detailed information regarding the implementation of the service and cost drivers, right down to salary levels.

"We have never been able to access this degree of information before," says Mr Smith.

The new provider also demonstrated a commitment to innovation.

"For example, people who use the health system have been telling the DHBs for some time that they would like more convenient options for test collection.

"In the region we know that people with high needs have less access to laboratory testing services.

"This impacts on the likes of the elderly, the disabled and those with lower socio-economic status."

Mr Smith says Labtest Auckland intends on working on options to improve access.

"It's about looking at innovative ways to improve the way that people can access health services and to improve and the overall health of the people in the region."

Mr Smith says for the first time the community laboratory contract also includes performance measures which are robust and enforceable.


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