Questions and answers

Which five markets were involved in this project?

Riverina (Wagga Wagga), Central West (Dubbo), North Coast (Tweed and Lismore), Mid-North Coast (Coffs Harbour and Kempsey), Illawarra/Shoalhaven (Wollongong, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven)

Why were those five specific markets selected (as opposed to other regional areas?)

We know our LHD customers in these markets have been concerned about issues like price, customer service and the overall value of our services.  If we want to improve and have a strong presence in our regional markets, we have to address the issues head on and that’s what this project is about. We may look at doing the same process in additional markets, but want to start with these five and see what we learn.

Did external consultants lead this work?  Why are we using consultants – couldn’t we do our own assessment?

Getting an independent perspective helps balance any internal bias we might have about the issues. It also challenges our traditional way of looking at things.

Paxton Partners has extensive experience in Australian healthcare and has worked with Local Health Districts as well as public and private pathology providers to better understand a range of service issues. They’ve also previously worked with us and the Ministry of Health on a range of projects.

Should staff in the five markets be concerned about the future?

We believe there is great value in having a strong public pathology sector. We want to see our pathology services thrive but to do that, we need to change. 

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.

Is contestability an initial step to privatisation?

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

It’s a process that forces us look at how we operate through a new lens, identify and act on areas for improvement, and ensure we’re delivering quality pathology services at exceptional value.