Pathology service concerns revealed

MEETING minutes of an internal committee obtained by the Medical Scientists Association of Victoria through freedom of information and seen by The Express refer to discussions about pathology turnaround times and apparent concern about the service agreement.

The Pathology Liaison Consultative Committee minutes suggest in a December 2011 meeting, LRH chief executive Peter Craighead raised concerns about whether Gippsland Pathology Services (a trading name used by Dorevitch) was able to fulfil the service agreement.

Mr Craighead last week moved to clarify this, saying he indicated he had concerns about changes to the pathology service and it was recommended these be discussed in more detail with Dorevitch.

“My comment was made within the context of a much broader discussion,” Mr Craighead said.

A subsequent committee meeting on 12 February 2013 made reference to the emergency department turnaround time being “unachievable”. A figure attached to that statement has been deleted under freedom of information.

Minutes from an April 2013 meeting reference a meeting between representatives from LRH and two other Gippsland hospitals and an agreement by the group to make a recommendation to Health Purchasing Victoria – the statutory authority that works with hospitals to manage collective contracts – for a reduction in the turnaround time threshold.

According to the minutes, this reduction would be from 99 per cent to 90 per cent with a view to increasing the threshold to 95 per cent with the next contract.

The minutes also suggested there was a recommendation to tighten the ward turnaround time from six hours to four hours.

The Express was unable to confirm whether these recommendations were received by HPV or if the changes were implemented.