Taranaki DHB laboratory privatisation bid ditched; well done Health Minister
“Senior doctors are delighted the DHB has finally put the brakes on its attempt to privatise its hospital laboratory after dragging its heels on the matter,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).
“The DHB was foolish to even consider privatisation in the first place and it certainly should have seen the writing on the wall after clear signals from the new Labour coalition government that it would not be handing over control of public assets to private interests.” (https://www.asms.org.nz/news/asms-news/2018/03/22/senior-doctors-welcome-government-policy-decisions-on-public-assets-thwarts-attempt-by-taranaki-health-bosses-to-privatise-hospital-laboratory/).
Mr Powell was commenting on a message from Taranaki DHB Chief Operating Officer Gillian Campbell to all staff yesterday about the lab procurement process at the DHB. The message reads:
“Tararanki DHB has been in the process of procuring a new single integrated Laboratory & Pathology service for the Taranaki Region. Taranaki DHB is no longer in a position to proceed as planned because the direction of the project is no longer consistent with the policy priorities of the Government in respect of public health service delivery. The DHB is now considering a range of options in the short, medium and long term. The current RFP process is on hold pending further planning.”
Mr Powell says this message sends a welcome signal to the few people in DHBs who still favour privatisation of essential public health services.
“ASMS was taking legal action against Taranaki DHB on this matter with the Employment Relations Authority because the laboratory service is so critical to clinical decision-making of hospital specialists and the provision of quality care to patients. In trying to push privatisation through, the DHB breached its engagement obligations under our national collective agreement.
“We congratulate the Minister on getting the message through to slow learners. Public hospital health services need to stay in public hands, not be auctioned off to maximise profit.”