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Sprott Joins Call For Inquiry Into Auckland Lab

Sprott Joins MP In Call For Inquiry Into Auckland Healthcare Laboratory (Labplus)

Forensic scientist Dr Jim Sprott today expressed support for the call by National MP Dr Paul Hutchison for an inquiry into the operations of the Auckland Healthcare laboratory (LabPlus).

Dr Sprott's statement follows the Family Court's release last week of documents relating to a recent case in which two young children were permanently removed from the custody of their parents. The children were removed after LabPlus issued an analytical report stating that an adult drug (Zopiclone) had been found in the urine of one of the children.

"The scientific standard of the LabPlus analysis in this case was woefully inadequate," said Dr Sprott. "This particular analysis involved eleven separate requirements. All those requirements are normal scientific practice, and they were stipulated under the terms of LabPlus's accreditation. However, the analysis by LabPlus did not comply with a single one of the requirements."

Dr Sprott will shortly submit a formal complaint to International Accreditation New Zealand regarding the analysis, which was carried out by LabPlus in July 2000.

A United States expert who recently reviewed the analysis stated: "In my opinion the report of the [drug] in the urine is unsubstantiated and unconfirmed, and as such should never have been reported [by LabPlus]".

Accreditation of the LabPlus department which carried out the analysis was suspended by International Accreditation New Zealand in December 2000.

A copy of Dr Sprott's complaint will be sent to Dr Hutchison MP. "When it comes to accreditation matters, New Zealand has inter- national responsibilities under APLAC*," said Dr Sprott. "Given recent events and the fact that LabPlus is New Zealand's largest medical laboratory, Dr Hutchison is quite right to call for an inquiry into its operations."

* * * * * * *

* Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Co-operation

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