25 Aug 2009

Lab company sends film crew to rival testing centres

7:06 pm on 25 August 2009

A laboratory company that lost a $560 million contract to handle pathology testing in Auckland has arranged for a film crew to interview patients outside its rival's centres.

Labtests won the eight-year contract from Diagnostic Medlab Ltd after a lengthy and bitter court row.

DML chief executive Arthur Morris says many people have reported delays and poor testing practices with Labtests.

Dr Morris says his company has hired a film crew to document patients' experiences with Labtests and will consider giving the footage to district health boards, politicians or the media.

He says some patients reported long waits to have blood tests taken when Labtests took over testing for the Counties-Manukau District Health Board region earlier this month.

The company took over testing in the Auckland DHB region on Monday, as part of the second stage of the transition.

Auckland District Health Boards say they are disappointed at the filming.

Laboratory project director Tim Wood says some patients do not need the extra pressure of a film crew. However, he says DHBs have no influence over whether the practice continues.

Mr Wood says there have been a few teething problems in the transition between lab providers but things are generally going well, with no lengthy delays.