10 Aug 2009

New provider starts medical testing in Auckland

8:55 pm on 10 August 2009

The head of the company taking over medical testing in the Auckland region says it has been a long journey, but the company is ready to deliver.

Labtests Ltd won the $560 million contract from Diagnostic Medlab Limited (DML) after a bitter court row that ended earlier this year.

The company is assuming the contract in stages, starting with the Counties-Manukau District Health Board area on Monday. Up to 9000 samples per day will be collected for some 3000 patients.

Chief executive Ulf Lindskog says Labtests now has 98% of the 700 personnel needed for the full service. About a quarter of them were previously employed by DML.

He says the core lab in Carbine Road, Mount Wellington, is fully operational and full load testing has also been completed.

Labtests will take over for the Auckland DHB region in two weeks' time and for Waitemata on 7 September.

Radio New Zealand's health correspondent says the entire contract involves up to 36,000 blood and other samples a day for up to 9000 patients a day.

The original contract was let by the three health boards in 2006, but the High Court in Auckland overturned the decision. That ruling was itself overturned by the Appeal Court, backed by the Supreme Court.

Labtests is owned by an Australian company, Healthscope.