Patient irked at tardy test results

Last updated 05:00 03/07/2014

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Blood test results that should have taken a week to be returned to a Timaru patient took a month.

The samples were taken in Timaru, but as part of changes to microbiology lab work in the town, they were sent to Christchurch.

That move has raised concerns in the community, with one GP saying it could extend the turnaround time on tests.

One patient, who declined to be named to protect his privacy, has told The Herald that has started to happen.

He had a blood test on June 2, and expected he would get his results back from Christchurch a week later.

"Basically, I only got the results back today [July 2]."

He said his blood test form also specified the results were to be returned to his GP and specialist, but they were not.

Instead, he phoned the Timaru lab to find out where they were.

He made an initial call a fortnight ago, only to be told the results had not been returned.

He phoned again yesterday, which prompted a lab staff member to look for his results on a computer.

"They said ‘it's just turned up'."

However, he said he believed the Timaru lab was not to blame - Christchurch was.

"I want to emphasise it's not Timaru's fault - they only send it up there and get the results online later.

"I think it's crap, to put it mildly . . . I'm bloody annoyed about it to be honest."

Southern Community Laboratories Group chief executive Peter Gootjes said he did not have any comment to make on the matter.

The spokeswoman who can comment on the matter on behalf of the Timaru lab was not available yesterday.

The Nelson Marlborough District Health Board (NMDHB) has undergone similar changes and its chief executive Chris Fleming said yesterday the process was working.

The contract with Southern Community Laboratories was established in 2012.

"While there have been some concerns expressed by members of the public and some clinicians when this was announced, the test results continue to be delivered within the contractual obligations," Fleming said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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