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Pathology Services at Tairawhiti Healthcare

10 February 2000

Pathology Services at Tairawhiti Healthcare

Health Minister Annette King said today she would be having more discussions with the Ministry of Health and the Crown Company Monitoring Advisory Unit to ensure both short-term and long-term pathology services options were put in place at Tairawhiti Healthcare.

Mrs King was commenting on a joint report from CCMAU and the Ministry on the provision of pathology services at THL in recent weeks, particularly over the millennium period.

The Minister requested the report following a letter she received from East Coast MP Janet Mackey on January 10. In the letter Ms Mackey raised a number of concerns about the availability of pathology services over the millennium period.

Mrs King said today she noted THL's commitment to an on-site laboratory and retaining a pathologist to meet both hospital and community requirements, and accepted it was sometimes difficult for smaller, remote hospitals to recruit pathologists.

She would monitor THL's progress in developing a long-term solution, but it was also vital short-term arrangements were in place.

"I am particularly aware of, and sympathetic to, the concern of Maori in the region. The transport of bodies to other centres may involve the undue separation of the family from the deceased, delays in the release of a body for tangihanga, and movement of the body into other tribal areas."

Mrs King said she did not intend to comment on individual employment issues at THL over the millennium period, but she was concerned that the wider issues of providing a pathology service acceptable to the community were followed through as speedily as possible.


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