Today (December 9, 2011) the Canterbury District Health Board held a Special Meeting to consider who should be the preferred provider for the new community laboratory contracts for Canterbury.
The meeting was public excluded for reasons of commercial sensitivity and the board voted to delay any public announcement on their decision until the middle of next week to allow time for discussions with the laboratories, clinical leaders and stakeholders.
Carolyn Gullery, CDHB General Manager Planning and Funding says the final choice of provider will ultimately depend on an ability to demonstrate it can manage the transition process effectively.
“Those discussions will seek to confirm the final choice of provider, develop an initial agreement on the next steps and how the all important transition phase might best be managed,” Carolyn Gullery says.
“Until discussions have been concluded, the CDHB considers the matter to be commercially sensitive and for that reason, and to ensure the best outcomes for all parties, an official announcement is being held over until midweek.”
Extensive earthquake damage to the Christchurch buildings of both existing community laboratories and the imminent expiry of laboratory contracts prompted a review of laboratory services. It was also seen as an opportunity to further a more integrated health system built on collaborative alliances.
The clinically led Laboratories Service Level Alliance identified changes should be made to create a “best for patients, best for system” lab service for Canterbury, Carolyn Gullery says.
“This led to the recommendation of a two lab system, later supported by feedback from the consultation and endorsed by the Board. This approach was viewed as increasing and improving patient services and supporting the overall strategic direction in Canterbury –moving the Canterbury District Health Board closer to an integrated health system,” she says.
All laboratories were invited to submit a request for proposal (RFP). As part of the RFP, the interested laboratories, together with the Canterbury District Health Board and the Canterbury Clinical Network (CCN) agreed to work together to manage the transition according to the following principles.
minimise the potential for disruption to patients by acting together to provide a seamless transition from one provider to another
minimise job losses by assisting affected staff in transferring to the new provider and, wherever possible, to transfer assets such as testing stations
minimise losses to any incumbent provider who is unsuccessful.
Under the new two-lab system, from April 1, Canterbury Health Laboratories will focus predominantly on hospital work and complex tests, while the successful community laboratory will service most of the high volume community demand, mainly from General Practice.
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