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Green MPs join Medlab debate

17 August 2006

Green MPs join Medlab debate

Auckland Green MPs Sue Bradford and Keith Locke have joined a growing number of groups and individuals expressing concern about the impact of the switch from Medlab to untried company Labtests Auckland on primary healthcare services in the Auckland region.

"Until recently we thought this was simply a case of sour grapes after one private company lost a contract to another," Ms Bradford says.

"However, after looking into the details, we now share the view of thousands of health professionals and patients that this is a medical disaster in the making.

"Labtests Auckland Limited, the company awarded the contract, has no laboratory in Auckland city, no staff, and no track record in New Zealand of providing lab testing services of the quantity and quality required in our largest city.

"By contrast, Medlab has a fifty year record of providing community laboratory services in Auckland, employs 750 staff, and runs a state of the art facility. Doctors have come to count on the speed and accuracy with which results are delivered. Patients with critical results get the treatment they need speedily because of the same day turnaround, including people on low incomes with high and complex needs.

"We also have reservations about the fact that Labtests is partly owned by Dr Tony Bierre, who was a member of the Auckland DHB and played a key role during early discussions about the restructuring of lab services, actually making a presentation on the issue to the Northern DHBs Coordinating Committee," Ms Bradford says.

"The three Auckland DHBs are taking a huge risk by opting for dollars over sense," Mr Locke says.

"Medical professionals and the people of Auckland should not be used as guinea pigs in a cost-cutting exercise which risks enormous systemic failure by mid next year.

"We call on the three Auckland DHBs to reconsider their decision, and on the Minister of Health to take a close look at what is really going on here before it is too late," Mr Locke says.

Ms Bradford, and Green Party colleagues will join the march and rally in support of Diagnostic Medlab which leaves QE11 Square at 1.45pm this coming Saturday 19 August.


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