Up until now I have not commented on the transition issues going from DML to in Auckland, as I always expected some transition issues.

However the concerns of the Health & Disability Commissioner indicate that the situation is getting quite serious, and there may be real issues of accountability for the DHBs to answer.

I don’t mean in the decision per se, but the transition. In hindsight it appears that they moved too quickly in moving the entire city over. I know it was a staged transition, but they seemed to have moved onto the next stages without measuring how well Labtests were coping with the areas already handed over to them.

Mr Paterson’s comments come on top of a Weekend Herald survey of GPs this week that found widespread worries about Labtests.

Sixty per cent of the 150 respondents rated its service “bad” or “very bad”, in contrast to the 85 per cent who said the service from Diagnostic Medlab before it lost the taxpayer-financed contract was “very good”.

Even in a transition, that is a pretty appalling rating.

Mr Paterson said the concerns raised by senior doctors at Auckland City Hospital were particularly serious. “They include haematology hard-copy results not being received, faxed results being misdirected, a renal patient facing a one-month delay in going on the transplant list because blood results were not available, and an HIV test result being misdirected. …

Mr Paterson rejects Labtests’ repeated assertion that the matters raised by GPs and patients are “teething problems”.

I wonder what incentives or penalties the contract with the DHB has, relating to complaints and satisfaction.

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