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Hooks In Wellington Region Health Lab Contracts

Hidden Hooks In Wellington Region Health Lab Contracts

Heather Roy Friday, 16 June 2006 Press Releases - Health

The announcement last week that Abano Healthcare and Sonic Healthcare have been contracted to provide laboratory services to Capital and Coast and Hutt Valley District Health Boards included hidden fishhooks, says ACT Health Spokesman, Heather Roy.

"The announcement didn't mention a significant change to the way that some lab tests will be funded from 1 November", Mrs Roy said.

"A letter circulated to Wellington and Hutt Valley specialists this week shows that patients will be charged for any laboratory test ordered by a private specialist.

"As well as paying for the lab tests, there will be a $13 account fee imposed on those patients with private specialist referrals.

"This will load extra charges onto those who, frustrated with the public system, 'go private' for treatment.

"In practice, private specialists will attempt to save patients the additional cost by sending them back to their GP, who will then order the tests.

"People will have to choose between paying high lab fees and paying for another GP appointment.

"There will be more double-handling, more pressure on GPs and patients will wait longer to be treated.

"Those with health insurance will find that their premiums will increase. For many, this will be enough to price insurance out of reach.

"This decision devalues the work of private specialists, who deserve recognition and reward for helping contain waiting lists by taking people out of the overloaded public system", Mrs Roy said.

Download_the_letter sent to private specialists by Capital and Coast DHB and Hutt Valley DHB.


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