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Laboratory Delay Highlights Need For Fiscal Care

ATTENTION: HEALTH REPORTER NO. OF PAGES:2

MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,

MONDAY 23 AUGUST 1999

“LABORATORY COMPUTER DELAY HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY BY HEALTH MANAGERS”

“The decision to again delay the introduction of Capital Coast Health’s controversial new computer system for their laboratory highlights the importance of health managers being fiscal responsible when spending the taxpayers’ money,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today.

Mr Powell was commenting on the decision by Capital Coast Health to delay implementation of Shared Medical Systems in its laboratory until next year. The first attempt at implementation failed in February and the second was due this week. Instead they will upgrade their existing system to make it Y2K compliant.

“Unfortunately health managers sometimes behave fiscally irresponsibly. The decision to buy Shared Medical Systems’ computer system was made with undue haste by former Executive Chairman Jack Jenkins with very limited homework and research over its suitability. It was also complicated by the appointment at the same time of a chief executive who had a business connection with this computer business with suggestions of a conflict of interest.”

“Mr Jenkins was also central to the controversial decision of Health Waikato to purchase Shared Medical Services’ system. Unfortunately the advice of hospital specialists and some senior managers to be more cautious was ignored.”

“Information technology is a highly complex and expensive area that requires thorough investigation and research. Decisions should not be made impulsively. Would those who make controversial purchase decisions do so if it was their own money at risk?”

“This computer fiasco at Wellington Hospital’s laboratory should be a reminder for health managers to be more fiscally responsibly. They are spending the public’s money, not their own,” concluded Mr Powell.


Ian Powell
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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