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Research slams DHBs’ lab decision

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Research slams DHBs’ lab decision

More than 90 percent of the Auckland region’s general practitioners want Diagnostic Medlab to continue to provide community laboratory services for the Auckland region after July 2007.

A quantitative survey of the region’s general practitioners (GPs) carried out on behalf of DML by independent research company, Colmar Brunton, reveals that 92 percent of the Auckland region’s GPs would prefer DML to continue to provide community laboratory services for the Auckland region. Despite this, the DHBs have awarded an eight year, $560 million contract to a new provider, Labtests Auckland.

The survey of 300 GPs has a margin or error of +/- 5.7 percent. Colmar Brunton said the response rate of 45 percent was an excellent rate for any survey, but was a particularly strong rate for a survey of GPs.

“We are delighted with this vote of confidence from the region’s GPs,” said DML Chief Executive, Dr Arthur Morris.

“It reinforces the views expressed in the many letters of support we’ve received from Auckland’s GP community.”

Other findings from the Colmar Brunton survey include:

 more than 70 percent of GPs say they were not consulted before the DHBs made the decision to change providers;

 more than 90 percent of GPs believe maintenance of current turnaround times for routine blood tests is very important;

 more than 80 percent of GPs feel that 43 collection centres will be too few;
 more than 65 percent of GPs feel that a consequence of fewer collection rooms will be that their patients will not have blood tests;

 nearly 30 percent of GPs are concerned about increased patient risk from a reduction in collection rooms;

 more than 75 percent of GPs are either unwilling or unable to collect blood at their practices; and

 nearly 65 percent of GPs are dissatisfied with the suggestion that commercial couriers (instead of trained staff) could be used to pick up samples from their practices.

“These results mirror the concerns of a huge number of professional organizations, including the New Zealand Medical Association, Public Health Organisations, the College of General Practitioners, the Nurses’ Organisation, the Medical Laboratory Science Board, the Royal Australasian College of Pathologists, the New Zealand Association of Pathology Practices and the DHBs’ own pathologists,” Dr Morris said.

Colmar Brunton also asked the Auckland public about their views on the issue. The survey of 600 Aucklanders has a margin of error of +/- 4.0 percent. Again, the 50 percent response rate was very high. The survey reveal 70 percent awareness of the decision and 70 percent of Aucklanders would prefer DML to keep the contract.

“This result confirms the views of the 120,000 Aucklanders who signed a petition calling for the DHBs to review their decision.

“This is not a case of DML putting words into other people’s mouths. It’s the views of GPs, their patients and the Auckland public who say the DHBs have made a bad decision,” Dr Morris said.

ENDS

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