The Union fears that Bendigo Hospital will have to cease offering its full range of clinical services as Clinical Labs announces it is cutting scientific staff, closing the microbiology pathology lab and downgrading its pathology laboratory accreditation status and services.
This move by Clinical Labs will see up to four scientists with a collective experience of approximately 100 years lose their jobs. 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.
Having fully functioning pathology laboratories is as important to maintaining a hospital’s key clinical services as an ambulance is to maintaining emergency services. 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.
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.
Essentially the business decisions of Clinical Labs, a for-profit pathology provider, are dictating the quality of care in Bendigo.
The Union is calling on Bendigo Hospital and Health Minister, Jill Hennessy, to assure the community that vital microbiology pathology services will continue in the hospital and that private pathology providers like Clinical Labs are barred from being awarded pathology contracts at any public hospital in the future when this is the how they treat Victorians.