Microbiology closed at Bendigo Health

EmergencyThe Union is shocked to find out that Bendigo Hospital will from today (Friday 30 June) be without its microbiology laboratory with Australian Clinical Labs officially sacking scientists and closing the laboratory.

The decision by Clinical Labs means that Bendigo Hospital will no longer be able to safely deal with issues around infectious diseases in the hospital. This is happening as the $600 million upgrade to the hospital is finalised. The Union believes the decision by Clinical Labs will immediately compromise the quality of care patients receive at Bendigo Hospital given it will no longer have a microbiology pathology lab.

Four scientists with a collective experience of approximately 100 years have lost their jobs as the microbiology pathology laboratory is closed today. It’s another blow to the Bendigo community to lose permanent, well paid jobs in the area.

It’s clear that Clinical Labs has little regard for the safety and well-being of patients in Bendigo and the region with its belief that Bendigo Hospital doesn’t need to have a fully functioning microbiology pathology lab dealing with potentially infectious diseases.

It’s simply not good enough that patients in Bendigo are not being given the highest quality of care because a private pathology provider has now walked away from delivering a critical pathology service. When it comes to things like diagnosing infectious diseases, waiting for a test result to come from Melbourne could have serious adverse effects for patients.

It also makes a mockery of the $600 million expansion and upgrade of the hospital as this decision means the full range of clinical services can no longer be delivered safely. Essentially the business decisions of Clinical Labs, a for-profit pathology provider, are dictating the quality of care in Bendigo.

Bendigo Health and its Board, the Health Minister and the Department of Health must now take firm action to ensure there is no risk to patient safety standards in the hospital; and determine how it will ensure urgent infectious disease. We can’t, as a community, allow a private pathology services contractor such as ACL to dictate what public health services can do about protecting patient safety.

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