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Lab Privatisation Disappointing And Short-Sighted

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ATTENTION: HEALTH REPORTER

MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,
SUNDAY 8 JUNE 2008

“Health Minister’s Approval Of Laboratory Privatisation Very Disappointment And Short-Sighted”

“Health Minister David Cunliffe’s decision to approve the Lakes DHB’s proposed partial privatisation of the Rotorua Hospital laboratory is very disappointing and short-sighted,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today.

“The Minister has given too much weight to the predetermined position of the DHB and very little consideration to those who actually run the hospital laboratory. While some DHBs have short-sightedly privatised their hospital laboratories, the Minister should have considered the fact that most DHBs have not. He had options and he has exercised the wrong one.”

“He is wrong to suggest that approving privatisation is the only way to achieve significant savings. Savings are achieving largely by capping community testing and rationalising the use of laboratory facilities. These can just as effectively be achieved by contractual arrangements with the private sector rather than privatisation.”

“The Minister’s decision has given a private company excessive and unnecessary influence over a valuable hospital resource which will affect around 70% of hospital clinical decisions. There is now the serious risk that the private profit seeking tail will gradually position itself to wag the public dog and taxpayers’ dollars.”

“In the last three years the Labour-led government has lost the moral high ground to criticise the National Party over privatisation. More privatisation of public hospital clinical services has occurred in the past three years than in National’s near decade of free market experimenting in the 1990s.”

“The last three years have been a tough time for many disempowered and disenfranchised dedicated hospital laboratory staff who have also been unsupported by a government that professes to support health professional leadership,” concluded Mr Powell.


Ian Powell

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR


ENDS

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