Southern District Health Board chief executive Carole
Heatly has hit back at claims senior managers were misleading
about the reason for dropping the contract for
The board has said Counties Manukau District Health Board
would cease providing clinical support in the middle of this
year that enabled the southern board to provide the
Otago-Southland breast-screening programme.
In an opinion piece published in Friday's Otago Daily
Times, Association of Salaried Medical Specialists
executive director Ian Powell said this was wrong.
He said a report in a medical magazine last year revealed
Counties Manukau was willing to continue providing second
reads of images, and had offered additional support.
Mr Powell believed Ms Heatly and board members were misled by
Denying that in a statement yesterday, Ms Heatly said senior
managers were ''open and transparent'' about the issue.
''Counties Manukau wrote to Southern DHB on July 9 last year
and stated that they would continue to provide ongoing
operational support until July 2014, when their contract with
Southern DHB ended. This is what was communicated to our
''Where people seem to be confused is that there was an offer
of ongoing collegial support from Counties Manukau. This was
around assistance with mentoring and reviews, not continued
operational support in providing second and third reads.
''Senior clinical and management staff have found these
recent comments distressing and I stand by my staff and the
advice that they have given,'' she said.
The board wanted Counties Manukau to take more responsibility
for the programme, including employing the breast-screening
This was declined by the Auckland-based board, in the July 9
letter, which Ms Heatly sent to the ODT yesterday.
It had earlier been released under the Official Information
Act to the newspaper, which last year reported Counties
Manukau's refusal to employ the radiologists, which its board
The letter refers to service support to be provided until
July 2014, and an offer of ''collegial support'' past that
The new provider of southern breast-screening, Pacific
Radiology Group, takes over later this year.