HEALTHSCOPE Pathology says the scope of testing and service offered by the laboratory at Bendigo will be unchanged.
Healthscope Pathology chief operating officer Anoop Singh said “we have made a capital investment of tens of thousands of dollars in new equipment for the Bendigo lab, the onsite scope of testing will remain unchanged''.
"The organisation was one of Australia’s largest pathology providers, operating 67 accredited pathology laboratories across Australia,'' he said.
"Healthscope Pathology was awarded the pathology services contract and commenced providing
laboratory services to Bendigo Health Care Group in June 2012.
"We have made significant investment in technological hardware, including computer systems and
new laboratory equipment, and in staff development and training.
"Over the past 18 months we have seamlessly transitioned the pathology services and received
excellent feedback and support from both the clinicians and hospital administrators.
"To ensure the full benefits of operating in a privatised laboratory network model, some efficiency improvements
are being undertaken within the onsite laboratory.
"The private pathology industry in Australia has delivered significant operating efficiencies to the
federal government over the past 20 years through highly automated integrated laboratory
"Healthscope has played a key role in the industry providing high quality, cost effective pathology services through the network system model – the benefits of which will now be delivered to BHCG.
"The scope of testing and the service level offered by the BHCG laboratory will remain unchanged.''
VICTORIAN health minister David Davis says Healthscope has not reneged on a promise to guarantee jobs in Bendigo.
Speaking at press conference at Bendigo Health Tuesday morning, Mr Davis said the company had given a 12 month commitment not to cut jobs, but that period had ended.
He said the decision to privatise Bendigo Health pathology services was operational and all questions about that decision should be directed to the hospital board.
Mr Davis said the state government was committed to ensuring high quality health care was delivered in Bendigo.
Bendigo Health chief executive John Mulder said Healthscope’s decision to cut 10 staff would not affect the quality of patient care at the health service.
"The decision to make staff redundant is a commercial decision made by Healthscope; their decision will not impact on the care and service to our patients,” he said.
“We were always hopeful that Healthscope could grow the local pathology business and increase employment opportunities in the process, but there were no long term guarantees.
"We will endeavour to employ any suitable staff member who has been made redundant where appropriate.
"While we feel deeply for those people who have lost their jobs, we also need to remember the hundreds of locals who now receive care in our health service annually, funded from the savings in pathology expenditure that resulted from outsourcing the service.
“Had Bendigo Health continued to operate the service internally these people would be still sitting on a waiting list.
"On reflection, the decision to move to Healthscope was absolutely the right thing to do for a health service aiming to provide the best level of care in the most efficient way possible".
EARLIER: HEALTHSCOPE Bendigo is believed to have cut up to 10 Bendigo jobs.
The Bendigo Advertiser understands at least eight staff were issued letters on Monday, informing them their positions would no longer exist from next week.
It is believed a further two positions will also be cut.
It is understood staff were told some services would be outsourced to Melbourne.
Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards has slammed the state government and chair of the Bendigo Health Board Michael Langdon for the disastrous outcome of privatising Bendigo Health’s pathology services.
“CEO John Mulder on behalf of the government 18 month ago, promised hand on heart on behalf of the government that no jobs would be lost from the privatisation of Bendigo pathology services,'' she said.
“Over 6000 people signed the petition against the privatisation of Bendigo Health pathology fearing that the outcome would be job losses, and reduced service delivery”.
“Today 10 people and their families are facing a bleak Christmas having been told they will no longer have a job after next week”.
“This is a massive deceit perpetrated on the Bendigo community about the outcome of privatising the pathology services”.
Healthscope's then chief operating officer Nick Champness said last year the company's "immediate concern is to maintain employment, maintain a range of testing and ensure the status quo so there is no disruption to staff and patients''.
Comment is being sought from Healthscope, the state government and Bendigo Health.