About pathology and laboratory services

Pathology and laboratory services are a critical, often invisible part of the patient’s clinical pathway.

Laboratory tests underpin disease screening for risk factors, determination of disease severity, recovery likelihood, therapeutic selection, monitoring and investigation of adverse outcomes.

At the population health level clinical laboratories are critical in the identification of hospital acquired infections, identifying antimicrobial resistance patterns, and in the control of infectious disease outbreaks and exposures to toxic substances.

Pathology and Laboratory services are involved at multiple stages of the patient pathway and cross community, primary, secondary and tertiary service boundaries. It is generally accepted that approximately 70% of diagnoses rely on output from Pathology or Laboratory services.


In 2009, a Ministerial Review Group (MRG) noted that service access for laboratory services was inconsistent both in terms of the range of services available and the cost of services to consumers. They recommended that the Ministry of Health review the arrangements for planning, funding and provision of national, regional and local laboratory services with a view to determining the optimal planning, funding, and service configuration arrangements for New Zealand. Download the MRG report from the Beehive website for more information.

In response to the MRG report, the Ministry convened the Round Table in 2010 with a view to strengthen engagements within the Laboratory and Pathology sector. The group was comprised of key sector leaders from DHBs, private and community laboratories and the Ministry. It is chaired by the Chief Medical Officer. The Round Table has continued to meet on a regular basis.


The Round Table is tasked with working collaboratively with the wider health sector stakeholders to achieve the objectives set out in the Strategic Framework.

  • Develop a strategic framework and associated annual workplan that is adaptive and responsive to the changing needs of the health sector.
  • Determine key priorities for the Round Table
  • Support any subcommittees in implementation agreed recommendations resulting from the workplan
  • Establish links across the sector and other agencies
  • Appropriately guide the introduction and adoption of new technologies
  • Monitor local and overseas developments related the Pathology and Laboratory sector and provide advice on the implications for New Zealand.
  • Oversee the function of any subgroups established by the Round Table
  • Respond to questions and requests from the Director General of Health.
  • Make recommendations concerning the establishment of limited life subgroups to the Director General of Health.


Membership is made up of interested sector leaders, National Health Board staff and stakeholders from the Pathology and Laboratory sector.

Membership is for three years, with the option of reappointment after this time by the Director-General of Health through the Chair. The Director-General of Health may remove a member from office before the end of the term of appointment. Round Table members may also resign at any stage during their term by notice in writing to the Chair.

Names Organisation/s
Adri Isbister Wairarapa DHB
Andrew Simpson Ministry of Health (Chair)
Anja Werno Canterbury DHB
Anna Kula Ministry of Health (Secretariat)
Cam Kyle LabPlus Auckland DHB
Chris Davey LabTests
Cynric Temple-Camp Medlab Central, NZ Society of Pathologists
Deborah Powell Union (APEX)
Don Mikkelsen Counties Manukau DHB
Gloria Crossley Taranaki DHB
Kirsten Beynon Canterbury DHB
Libby Harrison ESR
Nicole Kramer Royal Australasian College of Pathologists
Peter Gootjes Southern Community Labs
Richard Massey Pathology Associates
Ross Boswell Royal Australasian College of Physicians
Ross Hewett LabPlus Auckland DHB
Russell Cooke Capital & Coast DHB
Ruth Rhodes Waikato DHB
Sarah Prentice Northern Region Alliance
Trevor English Southern Community Labs