Gippsland Pathology putting patients at risk in Warragul: MSAV

The Medical Scientists Association of Victoria (MSAV) is warning that Gippsland Pathology, a subsidiary of privately-owned Dorevitch Pathology, at Warragul Hospital is failing to employ enough properly qualified scientists to perform critical services putting patients at risk.

Paul Elliott, MSAV Assistant Secretary said:

“The Union has been advised that Gippsland Pathology is performing a range of complex scientific work from diagnoses to cross matching blood, despite not having sufficient scientists with the qualifications, training and experience in this highly specialised field.

“This kind of work is life and death stuff. If the wrong blood is given to a patient it can lead to their death. And if a wrong diagnosis is made it can significantly delay a patient getting the right care at the right time.

“Despite raising these very serious concerns with Gippsland Pathology and the management of Warragul Hospital, we’re still receiving reports that scientific staffing levels are so low that emergency out-of-hours’ work is being performed by staff with insufficient training.

“It is a very serious problem for the Warragul community.

“The Union calls on the management and board of the hospital to urgently intervene to ensure these dangers are removed.”
Mr Elliott continued:

“If the situation continues, we have very real concerns that Gippsland Pathology will be unable to safely meet normal demand for pathology testing. And in a major emergency this could have severe ramifications.

“It is completely unacceptable for a private pathology service to put patients’ lives at risk because they refuse to employ the right scientists to undertake the life-saving work it has been contracted to perform.

“Unfortunately for patients in regional centres like Warragul, there are currently no alternatives to private providers who seem less concerned about maintaining quality testing by employing the correct mix and number of trained and qualified scientists than they do about making huge profits.

“It’s time the Health Minister, David Davis ensures private providers like Gippsland Pathology aren’t putting patients’ lives at risk by continually slashing their scientific workforces in order to maximise profits.”

Mr Elliott concluded, “Will someone have to suffer serious, life-threatening complications or worse before Gippsland Pathology employs the qualified staff needed to deliver the best possible care for the Warragul community?”

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