The Union is warning that public hospitals may be unable to meet required world-class pathology standards while it continues to be treated as a non-essential service with a race to the bottom attitude from private providers in public hospitals.
Turn-around times on pathology tests are crucial to ensuring patients are diagnosed quickly so treatment can begin as soon as possible. Turn-around times are the pathology equivalent to waiting times for ambulances. The continued cuts to healthcare by successive governments has resulted in many public pathology laboratories being contracted out to private providers only interested in making profits.
As a result of this race to the bottom, pathology standards set out in contracts with public hospitals are not being met with quality standards declining and turn-around times for some tests being allowed to increase.
Critical pathology testing is being stripped out of local laboratories and sent to factory laboratories that can be several hours away in some cases. And usually includes the loss of well-paid local jobs and highly qualified staff. The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) acknowledges the impacts of how such practices can inevitably result in curbing of quality and research activities which may impact on clinical services.
The loss of local pathology testing can put other services at risk like the emergency department, obstetrics and paediatrics and oncology services. And it can have a devastating impact on public hospitals in regional Victoria, effectively reducing their ability to treat patients locally.
The Union is calling on the Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy, and the Andrews Labor Government to end the contracting out of pathology services; and ensure local public hospitals have fully functioning pathology laboratories staffed with properly qualified scientists.
But we’re going to need your help to make this happen.
And that’s why we have prepared a petition to present to the Victorian Parliament to turn up the heat.
The petition respectfully asks that the Government place a moratorium on the contracting out of pathology services and instigate a full investigation into the procurement practices in public hospitals with respect to pathology services.
Our aim is for at least 1,000 medical scientists to sign the petition so that the Government can’t ignore our voice on this critical health issue.
After you’ve filled up a page with signatures make sure you send the petition back to us at:
Level 1, 62 Lygon St
Carlton South VIC 3053