The Union has fears that any regional centre with a public hospital that has pathology services provided by Australian Clinical Labs will soon be unable to safely offer even the most basic healthcare as Clinical Labs cuts more scientists from their regional labs.
Over recent years Clinical Labs has been systematically slashing the scientific workforce in its regional public hospital labs, redirected work to Melbourne and Geelong while massively increasing turn-around times for pathology tests. In some cases, the turn-around time for tests for cancer, which should only take 48 hours, are now taking up to 21 days. This kind of delay to test results can mean life or death when treatment is delayed.
Clinical Labs continues to prove it has no interest in delivering world-class healthcare to Victorians and is solely driven by profits. Clinical Labs is putting Victorians’ health at risk and should have existing contracts in public hospitals torn up and pathology laboratory services returned in-house.
We now have a situation where regional hospitals serviced by Clinical Labs, will have to tell patients who are facing a life-threatening disease like cancer that they have to wait 21 days before knowing what’s wrong with them; and putting patients into harm’s way if treatments are delayed.
It simply is not possible to run a pathology laboratory with fewer and fewer scientific staff and expect the same results. If a pathology laboratory is essential to being able to deliver safe, high quality clinical services to patients, how can the same services be delivered safely with no pathology? The government needs to immediately step in and ensure pathology services in regional Victoria are maintained in-house and not stripped back and sent to Melbourne or Geelong.
The profit motives of Clinical Labs are directly dictating the level of safety for patients and the quality and range of care in Victoria’s regional public hospitals. There is every chance that patients in regional Victoria will now have to travel large distances to receive medical treatment that was once delivered in their local public hospital.
The Union is calling on Victoria’s Health Minister, Jenny Mikakos, to assure regional communities that vital pathology laboratories will remain open, fully staffed and fully functional. The Union continues to call on the Minister to end the practice of privatising vital clinical services and to restore in-house pathology services across Victoria.
Pathology closure sparks fear of delays for tests
The shock closure of a Colac pathology laboratory means patients will have to wait for their pathology results and treatment, with samples going to Geelong or Melbourne for testing.
Australian Clinical Laboratories announced it would close its service at Colac Hospital due to low patient numbers adding to a financial loss of $500,000 a year.
ACL said it would provide an extensive suite of point-of-care services and would “continue to conduct all specialist, urgent and routine pathology tests for Colac Area Health and the Colac Hospital, including the provision of urgent blood transfusion support at its Geelong facilities”.
Read the entire article by Greta Lannen at: https://colacherald.com.au/2019/07/pathology-closure-sparks-fear-of-delays-for-tests/