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Equipment checks ‘too costly’

Wairarapa Hospital has chosen to opt out of International Accreditation New Zealand [IANZ] checks for its radiology equipment, citing cost as a barrier.
The hospital’s radiology department provides general x-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, and fluoroscopy. However, MRI, PET scans, and mammography were provided to Wairarapa patients by other districts.
Te Whatu Ora Wairarapa interim district director Dale Oliff said the hospital did not apply for IANZ accreditation, due to costs in time and resources.
“Our radiologist services are provided by the Hutt District, whom we work with closely.”
She said the imaging still met assurance programme standards by a medical physicist and the office of radiation safety.
“Radiology staff meet all qualification or registration standards.”
The cost of accreditation sits at $1049 for an application to be accredited and $1212 for an annual administration fee per assessment unit.
Organisations must also pay for an advisory visit, initial assessment, ongoing assessments and special assessments, which cost $247 per hour of assessment and $123.50 per hour for travel.
An IANZ spokesperson said accreditation was a third-party assessment and recognition of service competence.
“This means hospital management can have confidence that an accredited service is functioning appropriately and that the management will oversee any issues that could compromise service delivery.”
Despite the lack of accreditation, Oliff said there was no change to services currently operating, including who is eligible for services operated in Wairarapa.
Wairarapa was one of three hospitals which did not apply for accreditation, along with Greymouth and Waikato’s tertiary hospital.
Palmerston North and Southland hospitals failed accreditation due to a lack of staff but continued to scan patients. Palmerston North had fewer than half the needed doctors to perform scans safely.
Accreditation is not mandatory for public hospitals, but it is mandatory for all elective high-tech scanning that is paid for by ACC.
ACC chief clinical advisor John Robson said any radiology services for acute care were funded to Wairarapa Hospital by ACC via the public health acute services – a bulk fund for acute treatment and is not attributed to individual claims.
“Wairarapa Hospital can perform low-tech imaging services such as x-rays and ultrasounds with funding from ACC under the Cost of Treatment Regulations.

Helen Holt
Helen Holt
Helen Holt is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age and enjoys reporting on a variety of topics, regularly covering Wairarapa events, tourism, local businesses, and the occasional health story.

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