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Public have say on who should pay for Lab Tests

22 November 2005

Public have their say on who should pay for Lab Testing

A public consultation process by the two District Health Boards in the Greater Wellington region has drawn a strong - and varied - public response.

The consultation asked the question “Should District Health Boards Pay for Private Patients to have Laboratory Tests?”

Capital & Coast and Hutt Valley District Health Boards are currently spending $3m a year on these types of tests for patients who are being treated by private specialists, private hospitals and private clinics.

[ It is important to note that both DHBs have already agreed that they will ALWAYS pay for laboratory tests requested by a patient’s family doctor (GP), midwife, dentist, or by hospital staff or other parts of the public health system (such as family planning services). ]

The public consultation closed last Friday, and the Director of Integrated Care for C&C DHB - Martin Hefford - says more than 260 submissions have been received from the public.

“That’s a very encouraging level of response, and we will now begin a detailed evaluation of the ideas which the public has brought to the table, which will shape our eventual recommendations on this issue,” Mr Hefford says.

“There are clearly a variety of opinions on this issue, and it will take careful analysis before we can say where the balance of public opinion sits, and what the relative strengths of the various arguments are,” he says.

The analysis of submissions will be completed over the weeks ahead, and papers on the issue will go to the Boards of both Hutt Valley DHB and Capital & Coast DHB for discussion at their meetings in February 2006.


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