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National Laboratory Test Schedule

MEDIA RELEASE, April 28, 2000

National Laboratory Test Schedule


Health Minister Annette King announced today that the Health Funding Authority is developing a national laboratory test schedule to replace the four different schedules used by the former regional health authorities (RHAs).

"People through the country will have the same level of access to the same free laboratory tests. Discrepancies had arisen as a result of the different RHA practices. While most tests on the schedules were the same, there were inconsistencies the HFA and laboratories believe should be resolved."

Mrs King said implementation of the national laboratory test schedule would include access to the schedule by Hospital and Health Services (HHS) laboratories. "Hospital laboratories will also be able to access the national schedule to provide tests for community referrers. This access is likely to be introduced progressively, depending on circumstances, through the country.

"Allowing HHS laboratories to access the schedule removes some artificial barriers and improves access to services. I have asked the HFA to ensure any proposals from HHSs are fair, and that HHSs do not price these services in a predatory fashion," Mrs King said.

"With the new schedule, the HFA will purchase the most appropriate range of tests in the most appropriate way."

Mrs King said an independent laboratory services advisory group of sector experts would be formed to provide formal medical and clinical advice on the most appropriate range of tests the HFA should fund laboratories to provide.

The HFA was also examining how much to pay for each laboratory test on the schedule and how to formalise the minimum quality standards. About $178 million was spent on community-referred laboratory testing in the 1998/99 financial year, representing about 25 million tests.

The schedule and contract apply to laboratory tests referred by general practitioners, midwives, community specialists and private hospitals.

ENDS

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