Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Don't sell off vital labs to balance the books

17 March 2006

Don't sell off vital labs to balance the books - Greens

A recommendation by the Otago and Southland District Health Boards to privatise their hospital laboratories raises extremely serious public health issues, Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

"Privatising hospital laboratories would be a short-sighted, foolhardy move, aimed at saving money, with serious long term health risks," Ms Kedgley says.

"Hospital laboratories provide a core health service, and if we sell them off we will lose control of key public health functions like the surveillance of infectious diseases.

"Such surveillance is the frontline in the fight to avoid the spread of illnesses such as influenza, and it would be foolhardy to contract it out to private contractors at a time when the rest of the public health system is trying to prepare for a potential bird flu pandemic.

"Laboratory staff are heavily involved in infection control work. They collect and collate blood-stream infection data and survey cases of influenza to help provide national data. How can we be sure that these crucial services will continue if these labs are privatised?" Ms Kedgley says

If implemented, this move would be one of the most significant privatisations in healthcare since the 1990s.

"Treating public hospitals as businesses failed then too. Let's learn from history, think long-term, and protect our public health surveillance capacity," Ms Kedgley says.

"If the flu pandemic ever hit New Zealand our lives might depend upon it.

"It worries me that District Health Boards (DHBs) are under such pressure to not to show a deficit that they are taking short-sighted steps like this which they will live to regret.

"I am also very concerned by reports that health professionals with laboratory expertise were deliberately excluded from the DHB decision-making process," Ms Kedgley says.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>


More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news