What is contestability

Contestability is a process that helps us leverage the benefits that come from the credible threat of competition to ensure we’re delivering quality services at exceptional value.

It’s about increasing our competitive edge and ensuring we are the provider of choice to our customers. 

For NSW Health Pathology, contestability has three key elements:

  • Competitive pricing:  how would we compare if market tested? 
  • Customer service: how well do we meet customer(s) needs? 
  • Value proposition: what differentiates us? 

Why is contestability important?

Public services are facing more pressures than ever before. As a result, we need to look at our services with fresh eyes, re-think how they’re structured and delivered, and work together to build a stronger, smarter and more responsive organisation.

Where is the competitive pressure coming from?

It’s coming mainly from our customers and their desire to know they’re getting value for money. 

It can also come from changes in the markets we operate in, the private sector, or changes in models of care such as public-private partnerships. 

Where ever the competitive pressure comes from, we need to ensure that our services are as effective and efficient as possible and that they provide lasting value.

Is the goal just to save money?

No. The goal is to be the best provider of public pathology and forensic services we can be. 

Our customers want fair and transparent pricing and they want to know we’re delivering our services as efficiently as possible. They also want better service, more accountability and greater responsiveness. They need us to be true partners who will listen to their needs and work with them to find practical solutions that lead to better outcomes. 

What are we doing to be more contestable?

  • We’re examining our services in ways we haven’t done before 
  • We’re unpacking our costs so we (and our customers) better understand the true price of our services and their components – including the actual tests as well as referrals, collections, research, our public health response and more. 
  • We’re driving more transparency and accountability in clinical and financial performance. 
  • We’re working with our services to better understand the markets we work in and the risks and opportunities in each. 
  • We’re looking at ways to better measure outcomes, not just activity.
  • We’ve developed our value proposition, which showcases the many ways we’re working to create better health and justice systems for the people of NSW.
  • We’re working hard to build greater employee engagement, because engaged and motivated employees provide better service to our customers, help us find innovative ways to address customer needs and deliver value to our services.
  • In December 2015 we’ll start a regional contestability analysis project to better gauge and help us improve the competitiveness of our regional pathology services.  
  • We’re also investing more time and energy to strengthen relationships with our customers and improve customer service.

Is contestability just a pre-cursor to privatisation?

No. Contestability is about increasing our competitive edge and ensuring we are the provider of choice to our customers. 

The Strategic Leadership Team, our Clinical Operations teams and our Board fully support our public pathology and forensic science services and want to see them thrive. 

Achieving that means we must do things differently. We need to be more agile and responsive to customer needs, ensure we’re making the most of the resources we have, and demonstrate our value every step of the way.