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Action on laboratories needed urgently


FROM: Dr Ross Boswell, Chairman NZMA

DATE: Thursday, 9 November 2006

SUBJECT: Action on laboratories needed urgently

The Minister of Health must heed the warnings he has been given over laboratory services contracts before New Zealand heads into a disastrous situation, the New Zealand Medical Association says.

The NZMA and the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) are both urging Health Minister Pete Hodgson to take action.

The NZMA earlier this year urged the Government to:

* immediately halt the implementation of further changes to New Zealand laboratory services
* review and if necessary revisit the decisions to date
* develop a national policy framework and a national plan for the provision of laboratory services actions (which the RCPA has also called for).

“The pathology workforce is being put at risk, and it’s time Mr Hodgson took notice,” said NZMA Chairman Dr Ross Boswell. “Medical organizations like the NZMA and RCPA do not make such statements lightly.”

“We have a pathology service that runs well and serves the population of New Zealand very capably. This is being put at risk by the Government’s short-sighted reviews of services which have been carried out without a comprehensive national policy framework, and seem only designed to save money.”

“The pathology service is already under-staffed in New Zealand, and the decisions being made by DHBs will have the effect of driving pathologists away from New Zealand, where they can earn more money and face much more certainly about their jobs,” Dr Boswell said.

“The NZMA does not want to be in a position of saying ‘We told you so’ next year when a crisis hits. We want action now to avert the problems.”


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