7 Jul 2010

Laboratory charges scrapped for private patients

3:29 pm on 7 July 2010

The Government has decided to put an end to some District Health Boards charging private patients for laboratory tests.

In 2006, the Capital and Coast, Hutt Valley and Tairawhiti District Health Boards introduced charges for privately ordered tests carried out in their publicly funded laboratories.

When the National Party took power in 2008, the new Health Minister, Tony Ryall, put a moratorium on the practice and has decided to make that permanent, following an independent review.

The review found some patients were choosing to delay tests or forego them altogether to avoid the costs.

GPs are happy with the decision, saying it was inequitable that patients paid for services depending on where they lived.