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This section contains media releases released a little while ago. Please note that due to the long time when some of these were released images have been removed and some links might no longer work.

May 21, 2007

Suspension of Laboratory Workers - Statement

Health services at the West Coast District Health Board including elective services will continue to operate this week.

The West Coast District Health Board today took the step of suspending laboratory workers who had withdrawn their services from key diagnostic areas.

Chief Executive Kevin Hague said the industrial action by laboratory workers had been designed to have a significant impact on health services and had the potential to have disastrous consequences.

"The action taken by the unions was designed to have a significant impact on health services, without affecting their members pay packets."

Mr Hague said comments that a very small proportion of work actually involved union members were ridiculous.

"The very nature of industrial action is for it to have a significant level of impact - it is the DHB's job to minimise impact to ensure patient safety and that is what we have done."

Mr Hague said the suspended workers performed vital services at the DHB and it was disappointing that the DHB had been forced to take this type of action.

Mr Hague said over the past three weeks the union had failed to meet with DHBs, which meant it had been impossible to resolve the dispute.

"You simply can't have only every second person in the laboratory providing an acceptable level of service."

Mr Hague said it now appeared the union was attempting to gain public sympathy by claiming this was low-level industrial action and the DHBs were over reacting.

"The reality is this type of union action is potentially dangerous to patients - and the DHB would be irresponsible if it did not take appropriate steps to address that."

For more information please contact
Kevin Hague - Chief Executive (03) 768-2893

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