The Union is warning the Andrews Government that a new worrying trend of ‘trading’ public sector pathology services between private pathology companies means more and more scientific jobs are being lost out of public health care. The most recent example is the sale of St John of God’s public pathology service to Australian Clinical Labs, which will result in 100 to 200 jobs being lost in Geelong.
Private pathology providers like Australian Clinical Labs and Dorevitch make profits by slashing the scientific workforce and centralising work in huge laboratories, usually located in Melbourne. This has the effect of diminishing the quality of public pathology services, a vital clinical service in Victoria’s hospitals.
The MSAV has received legal advice that the sale of St John of God pathology to Australian Clinical Labs will have the effect of severing the pathology services contract with Barwon Health. In effect, after the sale there will not be a contract with Australian Clinical Labs.
Before even entering into negotiations with Barwon Health for a pathology service contract Australian Clinical Labs has made a decision to axe up to 200 public health sector jobs.
The result of privatising public pathology means necessary, well paid jobs for health professionals have been lost in the Latrobe Valley, Gippsland, Bendigo, Ballarat, Frankston and now Geelong.
Unfortunately some private pathology providers are not interested in quality healthcare standards with evidence showing a repeated strategy of stripping hospital laboratories of testing and scientists. The loss of local pathology testing can put other key clinical services at risk like emergency departments, obstetrics and oncology through delayed turnaround times and other quality standards deteriorating.
Scientists are speaking with one voice asking the Andrews Government to save jobs in Geelong and do something to stop the continued privatisation of public pathology and the stop damage it is causing.
If the Andrews Government really wants to improve services in public hospitals and boost jobs in Victoria he must urgently intervene to end the privatisation of public pathology services.
The Union will continue to advocate for the Andrews Government to resume a public sector pathology service in Barwon Health, thereby saving up to 200 jobs and maintain quality health care standards.