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New laboratory services contract a better deal

New laboratory services contract a better deal for doctors and patients

A new laboratory service partnership officially launches today between Nelson Marlborough Health, Southern DHB and Nelson Marlborough DHBs and Southern Community Laboratories (SCL).

The partnership establishes a new COAG (Clinical Operations Advisory Group), a team that brings the two DHB’s clinicians, primary care clinicians, laboratory services and patients together to find joint efficiencies and collaborate in enhancing services.

The change will have immediate benefits. Electronic requesting will speed up test request processes and empower clinicians to do more on site. The introduction of point of care testing within the new laboratory partnership will enable more care to happen closer to home.

“Clinical staff will be able to order and track tests in real-time, directly from their practice management system. We can spend less time filling out paperwork and chasing results, and more time seeing patients,” says Southern DHB’s Medical Director Dr Hywel Lloyd.

The new contract expands on the previous pathology services offered by Southern Community Laboratories, to also include data analysis and reporting for better health outcomes. Management of communicable diseases will benefit from the application of readily available laboratory statistics.

"It makes sense to have consistent and efficient lab services between partnering DHBs,” says Dr Bruce King, Clinical Director Medical, Nelson Marlborough Health.

“SCL is more of a partner than primarily a service provider. We are all working together to improve our systems while adding value with projects and initiatives to make a difference in our DHB communities.”

While the initial contract with SCL was signed on 1st December 2018, time was allowed to establish new processes and work plans ahead of today’s formal handover. Southern Community Laboratories is a private pathology service that was founded in Dunedin but now operates across New Zealand.

They offer a wide range of diagnostic tests in biochemistry, haematology, microbiology, immunology, molecular pathology, histology and cytology and are equipped with the newest analysers and state-of-the-art systems. The new contract is a significant step up from the previous arrangement with SCL and a good news story for what can be achieved when two DHBs work together.


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