This is a stunning revelation. The Herald reports:
Counties Manukau DHB chairman Professor Gregor Coster apologised to the meeting over what he said was Labtests’ continuing underperformance although he added that the service had improved.
“They led us to believe they had a quality and safety system in place from the outset.
“It proved not to be the case. Frankly they lied to us.”
That is very strong language. In fact you wonder how there can be a successful partnership when the DHB thinks it has been lied to.
Labtests, which was not invited to the meeting, said later: “Labtests steadfastly refutes Mr Coster’s allegations. At all times the DHBs had full and detailed oversight of Labtests’ operations.”
That doesn’t rule out that claims may have been made which were not true.
Doctors recounted problems including near-misses for their patients, alleged misdiagnosis, slow turn-around times for results, unusual results, a flood of unwanted faxes, difficulty getting to speak to a pathologist, and a pathologist not seeming to understand his role of advising a GP.
Reflecting the mood of the meeting, Dr Tony Hay, of the Mt Eden Medical Centre, called for the health boards to go further than the 10 per cent of the contract they had returned to the previous provider, Diagnostic Medlab.
“I would have thought there were grounds to scrub the contract and go back to where we were.”
Auckland’s largest GP group, ProCare Health, said in a letter to the health boards that Labtests was continuing to fall well short of its promise it would match the DML service.
ProCare wants an urgent, independent review.
An independent review may not be a bad idea.