Clinical Labs cuts and runs at Colac Hospital

The Medical Scientists Association of Victoria fears that Colac Hospital will have to cease offering its full range of clinical services as Clinical Labs announces it is closing the pathology laboratory at Colac Hospital.

Clinical Labs notified the MSAV that it will close the pathology laboratory and walk away from the hospital shifting work to Geelong and a greater reliance on point-of-care testing which is notoriously inaccurate and unreliable. Without a pathology laboratory, Colac Hospital patients will lose time critical pathology testing, which is essential for safe, quality-assured patient care outcomes.

The decision by Clinical Labs means that Colac Hospital will not be able to safely perform surgeries or offer much of the current range of health care options without medical scientists in a fully functioning pathology laboratory in the hospital. It also means that without a scientifically-staffed onsite blood bank, the hospital’s full range of acute care services are unlikely to continue or at the very least will be severely impacted and put patients with emergency blood transfusion needs at risk.

This decision will have a serious negative impact on patient safety and the level and quality of care patients will get at Colac Hospital.

The Medical Scientists Association believes the decision by Clinical Labs will immediately compromise the quality of care patients receive at Colac Hospital given it will no longer have a pathology lab.

A fully functioning pathology laboratory is as important to maintaining a hospital’s key clinical services as an ambulance is to maintaining accident and emergency department services.

If a pathology laboratory is essential to being able to deliver safe, high quality clinical services to patients this week, how can the same services be delivered safely the next week with no pathology? The government needs to immediately step in and ensure pathology services at Colac Hospital continue to be run on-site.

It’s simply not good enough that patients at Colac Hospital are not being given the highest quality of care because Australian Clinical Laboratories is more interested in profits than ensuring the healthcare of patients is the top priority.

In an emergency, a blood bank scientist providing correctly matched blood out of a hospital blood bank can mean the difference between life and death for any patient with a serious haemorrhage. There is every chance that, without a pathology laboratory, local patients will now have to travel large distances to receive medical treatment currently delivered in their local public hospital.

This lab closure is the third in 2019. Without urgent Government intervention the threat of pathology lab closure looms for every smaller regional hospital. Private pathology companies will drive a wedge into public health in Victoria and through their greed establish two standards of health care.

The Union is calling on Colac Hospital and Health Minister, Jenny Mikakos, to assure the community that the vital pathology laboratory will remain open and that private pathology providers like Clinical Labs are barred from being awarded pathology contracts at any public hospital in the future when this is the how they treat Victorians.

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