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Wellington/Wairarapa region lab officially opens

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman Minister of HealthTuesday 16 February 2016, 8:39AM

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has officially opened a new purpose-built regional laboratory at Wellington Hospital.

The new facility, run by Wellington SCL, provides integrated community and hospital laboratory services for Capital and Coast, Hutt Valley, and Wairarapa DHBs.

"The three lower North Island DHBs have adopted a region-wide approach to provide integrated community and laboratory services," says Dr Coleman.

"As well as the benefits of improved, streamlined testing processes, better IT systems and new laboratory facilities, the three DHBs expect to save over $10 million a year from increased economies of scale and efficiencies which can be re-invested into frontline services.

"The transition to the new service went smoothly with the new integrated workforce, facilities, IT system, and equipment performing as expected since the service went live in November 2015.

"Each day 4,500 patients are seen and 18,000 tests are processed by a combined workforce of over 400 working in multiple sites. 28 collections centres across the region have remained open. There has been no change to the existing fee structure for tests funded by the DHBs.

"We now have a new purpose built laboratory facility at Wellington Regional Hospital and laboratory equipment has been upgraded at Hutt Valley Hospital, and will be upgraded at Kenepuru and Wairarapa hospitals as required.

"It's been the biggest laboratory integration project in New Zealand. It was important to engage with clinicians, and the three tier governance framework which was put in place worked well. I'd like to thank all those involved."


Over the last 15 years, nine regions have adopted integrated laboratory services - Southern, South Canterbury, Nelson Marlborough, MidCentral, Wanganui, Tairawhiti, Bay of Plenty, Lakes and Wairarapa DHBs.

Previously Capital and Coast and Hutt Valley DHB operated their own hospital laboratories and privately-run community labs.

The new integrated service, which went live on 1 November 2015, involved merging a workforce from the previous provider Aotea Pathology with hospital laboratory staff in the three regional DHBs.

The Southern Community Laboratories Group has provided laboratory services in New Zealand for more than 50 years.


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