Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rudman's On To It

Loyal readers will remember a spate of posts about the transition of blood testing services in the Auckland region from DML to Labtests, with TV3 leading the charge against Labtests..

At the time, Adolf and Whaleoil were almost lone voices raised in protest at the appalling behaviour of an incompetent and complacent losing tenderer; it's greedy venal GP cohorts; and the blitheringly naive and inadequate oversight of the project by Auckland's DHBs.

Brian Rudman, in today's Herald, provides confirmation of our accusations. We were right. Here are some choice excerpts from the ministerial report into the hand over.

"The assumption by the DHBs that there would be co-operation from the outgoing provider DML was not well founded," says the review team of Waikato University management associate professor Jens Mueller and Waikato District Health board chairman Graeme Milne.

"The good-faith provisions in the old contract requiring co-operation with the [three Auckland] DHBs were simply ignored by DML."


The report criticises the boards for "a fundamental lack of understanding of the strong clinician backing of the outgoing provider ... [which] contributed significantly to the ability of DML to wage an unprecedented interference campaign, which drained DHB resources during the transition and caused confusion among patients and clinicians".

Yes, my own doctor's practice was in it up to its eyeballs.


The report refers to the "full-fledged media circus ... fuelled in part by DML operating its own video 'reporting' of patient dissatisfaction".

This is a reference to the losing tenderer hiring fake journalists to doorstep patients leaving the new testing centres, then rushing any negative comments off to the media - shamefully, state TV ran them.


The authors paint this white-anting as normal business practice. They were taken aback that most of the 80 people they interviewed were surprised "by the unexpected activity of DML".

They say "it could hardly have come as a complete surprise to the DHBs that the incumbent would not only have no desire to aid an orderly transition of providers but would vent its frustrations through a deliberate campaign to destabilise the transition process".

Well Adolf has news for these naive authors. Such behaviour is NOT part of normal business practice in my experience. It is the sort of behaviour which identifies it's perpetrator as an organisation unsuitable ever again to be offered the chance to provide service in New Zealand.

The last word goes to Mr Rudman:-

On losing the tender process its first move was a scaremongering "important notice to patients" threatening "you may not receive the same level of service" and even, "your samples may be sent ... out of New Zealand for processing".

It tried every tactic possible to sabotage the handover to the successful tenderer, Labtests (LTA).


MacDoctor said...

The MacDoctor recalls posting many times on this very subject and being thoroughly castigated by the DML loyalists in the comments.

DML misinformed technicians about labtest working conditions, actively discouraging them from working there and causing labtests massive recruiting headaches. They refused to hand over doctor's preference lists causing chaos with the delivery of blood tests and they filed dozens of trivial complaints with the HDC to inflate the numbers and make labtests look bad. in short, they sabotaged the transition, placing the well-being of many patients at risk.

While it is nice to be vindicated at this stage, it should have been obvious at the time what was happening. Instead of properly calling out DML for their intransigence and unethical behaviour, the media chose to go with the disinformation because it sold more newspapers. Another prime example of where the public was failed by journalists who were more interested in sensationalism than actual news.

Anonymous said...

I have seen one of Jens mueller's previous reports in the medical/science area. Totally unimpressive, skimpy and unprofessional. Jumped to conclusions on the flimsiest of information. I would not have used this man for such an important review. it would be best to read the detail before blindly accepting what he has to say.