The Union is warning that healthcare standards for residents in Warrnambool and the region could be compromised with pathology testing being handed to Dorevitch Pathology at the conclusion of the tender process.

The Union is deeply troubled by reports that Dorevitch Pathology will be taking over pathology testing at South West Healthcare given the extensive history Dorevitch has in taking pathology testing out of hospitals, where it’s needed the most, and sacking local scientists.

We know that Dorevitch’s business model is to gut testing at local hospitals and move it to Melbourne. Unless Dorevitch Pathology is held to account we will see the company take testing out of the Warrnambool hospital and cut scientists jobs which would threaten the ongoing viability of current clinical services such as obstetrics, surgery and emergency department as turnaround times for tests blow out.

In-hospital pathology testing and a full blood bank services are as important to delivering critical clinical services as doctors and nurses.

Remarkably the local hospital board’s decision appears to be about offering bargain basement healthcare to the people of Warrnambool and the region. In making this decision, the hospital board will see local jobs lost and over 200 years’ experience in pathology gone; and Dorevitch will ensure the pay and conditions for pathology workers are undermined.

Dorevitch has a model of taking testing out of hospitals. We’ve seen it happen wherever Dorevitch have been contracted. From the Latrobe Regional Hospital to Ballarat and we’ll see it happen in Warrnambool.

The hospital board and Minister for Health must deliver to the community an iron-clad undertaking from Dorevitch Pathology that all pathology testing and blood bank services will remain in the hospital; that no pathology services will be stripped out of Warrnambool and that there are no jobs lost. Without these promises the community in Warrnambool and the region may find critical clinical services under threat.

After all, the Premier, Daniel Andrews, made iron-clad promises that in any contracting of public service jobs, wages and conditions will be protected. This promise needs to be honoured in Warrnambool.

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