Canterbury clinicians remain confident in the continuity of service through the transition to a two-lab system.
Dr Ross Warring, General Practitioner and member of the clinically-led Canterbury laboratory alliance group says feedback from clinicians has been encouraging.
"As a member of the alliance, I am very comfortable with progress towards the two laboratory system to date. While the new purpose-built community laboratory near the airport will happen slightly later than originally anticipated, I am confident continuity of service to patients and referrers will be seamless," says Dr Warring.
The new laboratory is now scheduled to be completed at the end of April. This is to ensure seismic building standards, required to safeguard the workforce and meet the current and future needs of the Canterbury health system.
Associate Professor Richard Gearry, CDHB and private gastroenterologist and another member of the alliance, says he has been impressed with the co-operation between laboratory providers during the transition process.
"The alliance meet weekly and the consistent priority throughout has been to ensure patients, clinicians such as GPs, and private referrers do not lose out. I have no concerns in that regard," Associate Professor Gearry says.
"Canterbury Health Laboratories (CHL), Southern Community Laboratories (SCL) and Medlab South should all be proud of their professionalism and continuing patient-centred focus."
Current sample collection centres will remain the same for patients
"All they might notice is a change in the sign above the door. Doctors are able to continue to work through the usual system of courier pick-ups, with some minor timetabling changes to remove some of the inefficiencies and duplication inherited from the old system," Associate Professor Gearry says.
Carolyn Gullery, Canterbury District Health Board General Manager Planning and Funding, says a phased transition process has always been the plan.
"As soon as the new contract was awarded to Southern Community Laboratories, the alliance was working to ensure a smooth transition through April 1 and beyond.
"Our contract with Medlabs South still ends on 31 March as scheduled. After that time, CHL and SCL and the rest of the alliance will continue working constructively to create a service that is best for patients and best for system.
"Two things are important here: The quality of the service to patients and clinicians, and that the new laboratory and Southern Community Laboratories are enabled to provide sustainable service improvements. Making their laboratory facility earthquake resilient is a necessary part of both," Carolyn says.
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