Wednesday, March 18, 2009

DML DMolished

Adolf has followed with considerable interest the Mexican stand off between Diagnostic Medlab and Labtests. There is no better analysis of the whole shebang than this piece by Cactus Kate. It is long but well written and is worth a bit of time and study.

The guts of the deal is that the dickhead Arthur who heads DML in NZ underestimated the competition for his cosy little gold mine in the Auckland region and the nasty newcomer beat him hands down in the tendering process. Now dickhead Arthur is trying to save his sorry arse by scaring the shit out of Auckland patients and frustrating the decision of the DHBs and the courts by attempting to abort the transition from one supplier to another. If he fails, he's out on the pavement collecting the dole.

Technically and legally OK but morally and pragmatically very stupid.

You see, Labtests are not going to sit around with their thumbs up their bums waiting upon the indulgence of dickhead Arthur. They are going to screw him - and his staff, if they are stupid enough to believe the balderdash he is churning out.

Adolf's spies are out and the word is trickling in that there is a cunning plan to strand dickhead Arthur way up the creek without even a toothpick with which to scratch his arse.

DML thinks it has the whip hand because it appears to have cornered all the suitable blood letting venues and staff. Well, think again dickhead.

Adolf is advised there has been a massive block booking of some 400 camper vans for a four month period commencing one month before changeover date - September 7th 2009.

2berth camper van

These bookings have been carried out secretly using cover names, a variety of dates and booking in groups of four or five. They will be outfitted for blood letting in the month before change over. Arrangements are being made with Progressive and Foodstuffs for their supermarket car parks to be used for venues for a three month period. Each camper van will service three supermarket sites each day - on rotation.

Fifty to sixty skilled staff will be shuttled in from Australia to man the units and or train new staff to take over.

All of this extra expense will be partially funded by the DHBs themselves because if they allow dickhead Arthur to disrupt normal medical services then they will have their arses handed to them on a plate by Tony Ryall. There is sufficient evidence now in the public domain for the DHBs to take legal action against DML for recovery of these costs.

The biggest losers in this fight are current staff of DML who are being shamelessly used as cannon fodder in a losing battle - in fact a battle which already is lost. Labtests will announce publicly that DML staff have until December the 7th (Pearl Harbour day) to apply for positions with the new regime. After that date no employment will be offered.

If I were a DML member of staff, I would right now be seeking a written guarantee of employment for at least six months after September 7th. Of course dickhead Arthur won't give such a guarantee. He'll just offer more inane platitudes and hollow promises which later will be broken.

Does anyone seriously expect DML's Australian masters to sit around for six months paying all those property leases and those hundreds of staff while there is no revenue coming in? Zero, zilch, nada?

Who knows, it may turn out that these mobile blood testing units turn out to be so much better than the old system that they become a permanent fixture.

After all, we in the life insurance industry now employ an outfit called Lifetest who sends a pretty little nurse along to your office or home to do your GP medical, take your bloods, blood pressure, height and weight.

DML is a monument to history.


WAKE UP said...

ADOLF, in rebuttal, I will say something very simple here, which is:

In a lifetime of experience of General Practitioner doctors working at the coal face, I have never met one as good as the one I've had for the past decade. She is so GOOD that I'd crawl bare-arsed over broken glass for her.

So when she says that this process has not been robust, and is dangerous and possibly corrupt, I take notice.

I don't give a damn what you, or John Roughan, or Bryan Rudman, or anyone else have to say (Tony Bierre sure seems to have lot of friends in the MSM - the very fact that they are pontificating on this should serve as a warning signal to you).

I say, listen to your (my) doctor.

Anonymous said...

BOY you must have bad consipation, that post sounded shitty

Anonymous said...

Adolf,I almost invariably agree with most of your comments.

As a Secialist Dr in Auckland for about 30 years, I believe you are way wide of the mark with your thoughts on this one however."Wake Up's " GP is correct.

Other than those involved,I do not know of one other medical professional who supports this move.It is in fact,fraught with potential disaster !(doesn't Rudman's support even make you SLIGHTLY suspicious???)

I should say,I am not a pathologist,am all for free enterprise and have no pecunary interest in this one way or the other.

Anonymous said...

As sadly a regular user of DML being of that certain age as a customer I dont give a rats arse about the legal problems although I have followed the case witn a professional interest.

But I tell you. If I dont get the same service I have had then all hell will break loose.

I refuse to be used as a pawn in some little shites game. these arseholes will find customer power can be a very powerful weapon.

The targets will be Ryall the Auckland DHBs Chairs and Labtests Chair and CEO. Civil organised harasment can be used to great effect if the customers are provoked


Adolf Fiinkensein said...

What a load of piffle!!

Yes, the DHB may well have stuffed up the transition but that's no reason to go mental and rave on about the successful tenderer.

For God's sake, gd, what standard of service are you talking about? Do you want taxpayers to subsidise your favorite blood suckers to the tune of $17 mil so that you can get off your already subsidised free off peak bus one kilometre earlier when you get your bloods done?

Just what the hell are you going to do? Go and protest by cutting your throats outside Labtests'door?

I don't believe any GP is qualified to comment about what might or might not happen. They are GPs, they are not expert in the handling of high volume laboratory samples. Labtests and their Australian masters are expert in this field so I suggest you dry your eyes and stop stirring up imaginary problems where none yet exist.

Anonymous said...

Pretty little nurse. Hmm. Do I need to buy life insurance, or can you just send out the nurse?

As for the GPs etc that are worried. Small thing called risk reward. Not to mention keeping the bastards honest. We can just keep paying a provider who think they are a monopoly, and pay them whatever they want from now onwards. Or we can take a stand and say "we're changing."

We save a lot of money, but there will be some pain in the changeover. Anyone who has done any sort of system conversion knows that. The key is how fast problems are recognised and fixed, and whether the end result is still the service that was needed.

The media will get excited and go into beat up mode about any minor problem, and that is wrong. But if there is a major problem - if people who had a medical emergency that required immediate response, and it doesn't get done in the medically necessary timeframe - that is a problem. If someone with a non-life threatening condition gets a result in 3 days instead of 2, then that isn't something that we need to care about - it is a short-term productivity hit during a transition.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

PaulL, you need to not just buy life insurance, you need to by some big buckets of life insurance and then you might get a visit from a hairy arsed gay wrestler who happens to be a nurse.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Not my particular fetish, but for the right person that could be quite an inducement :-)

Anonymous said...

So you want to swap one monoploy provider for another? Where is the logic in that?
Usual stuff up by paid managers who as usual have their brains in the seat of their pants.

Anonymous said...

excellent idea. I love it. They should also look at a DIY section to the lab where people can take their own blood. gather up a few injecting drug users to teach people how to spot veins. no worries. The main thing is that the DHBs don't look bad.

a bit of brainstorming still needed for what to do with those annoying specimens once collected. again crash courses for the public could be the key. diagnose your own "superbug"! the greens might not like that bit but who cares.

Anonymous said...

"Technically and legally OK but morally and pragmatically very stupid."

Remind me again who you were talking about - was that Tony Bierre and ADHB?

Anonymous said...

Well, we'd be swapping one monopoly provider for another if every DHB in the country went across to the new guys. I presume they won't.

Cactus Kate said...

WAKE UP - she's a Doctor. Of course change is bad. The sky is falling in and everypne has depression.

It's good for her business.

Anonymous said...

Don't for God's sake stop your Lithium Kate!

WAKE UP said...

ADOLF : "I don't believe any GP is qualified to comment about what might or might not happen. They are GPs, they are not expert in the handling of high volume laboratory samples."

KATE : "Wake Up - she's a Doctor. Of course change is bad. The sky is falling in and everyone has depression."

If you both really think those are adequate replies to what I said, you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves; talk about tapdancing around the issue, which is: the non/integrity of what has happened. Normally, you are both capable of rational discussion, but neither of you has offered a single rebuttal of what I reported, nor had the humility to suggest you might look into it.

I'm now as disgusted with you as I am with hustler Bierre, the DHB, and the ever-compliant MSM - whom , to suit yourselves this time, you have suddenly discovered to be paragons of informed virtue. Sheesh.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Wake Up, when you've stopped snorting, you might like to address yourself to the actual content of the post which is the dual between the two Australian health services companies. Your commentary was in fact no more than a pile of emotive junk.

I have no particular brief for Labtests but I do want to see progress and progress happens only when there is competition. You, apparently want to see DML hold this contract in perpetuity.

What are you going to do when the clever people at Labtests actually bring the service into play without any major disruption?

Do you not understand that DML is shackled by the mental complacency brought a bout by encumbency? Just like Clark's Labour gummint?

Let me tell you as toy about inovation. In 1979 the Queensland parliament was found to be infested with termintes and the whole building had to be sheathed in plastic and gassed with methyl bromide. Conventional wisdom had it that you put gangs of people up on cherry picvkers to clip the sheets of plastic tegether to produce a seal. The tricky people from Rentokil put in a tender for half the price of their competition. You see they devised a 'new' way to do the job. They hired the local abseiling club to do the clipping. Cut out the enormous cost of cherry picker hire.

Figuratively speaking, that's what Labtests will do in Auckland. They will find a better and cheaper way to deliver the service. By using mobile blood letting units they do away with (a) the need for property leases and by rotating each unit through three sites each day, (b)two thirds of the staff employed by the previous supplier.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe any insurance salesman is qualified to comment about what might or might not happen. They are salesmen and don't even have any experience in medicine, they are not experts in the handling of high volume laboratory samples.

WAKE UP said...

ADOLF: "Wake Up, when you've stopped snorting..."

Addy, how many time must you be told: ad hominem abuse is not an argument - which is why I took you to task for dissing my good doctor's remarks solely on the grounds that she is a doctor. You STILL haven't addressed her gentle concerns - which, according to your logic, would have more validity coming from a plumber. Well, something smells very bad about this whole business. Was it a corrupt process, with added danger because it's a public health issue? (It's not as if it's only about re-routing a bus route or something). We await some answers and proof of the pudding, not an unreasonable position to take.

Addy, you've gone to a lot of trouble to write the original post - man up and take another look. Just because not everyone is leaping on to your bandwagon doesn't give you the right to dismiss them (except of course, to save you having to re-argue your case).

I haven't once said that I want DML to hold on to its position; nor has my doctor (your loud accusation of that is your own imagination). What we do say is that this is possibly an insider rort that may have grave consequences for public health.

And if you can't take simple, well-expressed contrary views without resorting to abuse, don't blog it in the first place.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Good God, Wake Up. Do you live in a monastery? A mild suggestion that you take some deep breaths does not constitute abuse.

WAKE UP said...

Adolf, ad hominem is ad hominem when you think it lets you off having to debate THE ISSUE.

You are now in the same position as the editor who published the so-called Pauline Hanson picturse: look out, possible reality bite ahead.

Clunking Fist said...

anon @ 7:29 18/03/09

"So you want to swap one monoploy provider for another? Where is the logic in that?"

Um, you can only have one power company at a time supplying your household power needs, so using your logic, at any point in time your current power company is a "monopoly".

Cactus Kate said...


I debated the issue on my blog. I formed my OWN opinion based on all the information reported to readers in that post. My opinion was NOT based entirely on listening to one GP. As yours is.

When you write a rebuttal to my entire article more intelligently than just basing your entire conclusion on one GP's opinion that you think that DML is the only answer to provision of these services then I might take you seriously.

Until then keep crawling bare-arsed over broken glass.

WAKE UP said...

KATIE: not just "one GP"'s opinion - as you can see by this thread, it's about a 70/30 split against what is happening with the med-testing thing. My doc's well-informed opinion is simply the one I respect the most, while being equally capable of forming my own conclusions - which are that something very dodgy has possibly occurred here, with inherent public health dangers.

And that's that. Now, about attitude/s: why do you and Adolf get so upset about this contrary view? This thread shows I'm not alone in having it.

Never ceases to amaze me how you guys who run blogs seem to panic when the possibility you are wrong is the first thing that comes on board. I thought that was the MSM's speciality - you are supposed to be the tough guys! :)

As I said to Adolf: look out, you might have to face a reality bite on this one. That's all I'm saying. Keep your snide remarks to yourself (both of you).

Anonymous said...

Adolf your post (and Kates)really miss the point and both show a very 'surface view of the situation. And that is part of the problem with this contract issue. There are many facets to it and many side issues. That is why it appears to be one monopoly against another - it isn't. Arthur won't be out of a job - his expertise in his speciality of infectious diseases places him back on the world market, lost to NZ. And many more specialist pathologists will follow. People with a superficial view think the 'staff' can only do lab work - they are intelligent people who can do anything even run a few blod sites. The staff will not go because they don't want to go. And if Arthur told them they had to go, they wouldn't. Their stance goes back two years to when Labtests got the contract based on a theoretical proposition - move 50 % of blood collection to the doctors surgery. Then halve the number of rooms or even get some camper vans as you suggest. Cut the testing regime and extend the turnaround time for results - the patients can wait like they do in the UK - a week for a routine blood test.
The DHBs were looking for innovation - well if there was ever a fairyland like innovative idea this was it. Bought hook, line and sinker. It was never going to work in Auckland but was bought because it made a few people look good for a short time And isn't that what its about.
Now reflect on what is actually on offer now - nothing like the tender. No longer are doctors going to be asked to collect blood, now there are at least 10 more rooms (watch this space)and another monopoly provider.
And that is the problem - what the DHBs thought they bought has now changed radically. Competition is the answer - DML has never shied away from competition - but the DHBs didn't want competition because that would make controlling the labs so much harder for them and control is what it is about. Annette, Pete and Dave's hands are all over this. And what you are witnessing is an outcry against control. So go DML!

WAKE UP said...

Thanks, Anonymous. Exactly.