Calls for in-house health service

THE Medical Scientists Association of Victoria says pathology services should again be delivered in-house at Bendigo Health.

The MSAV, which represents the industrial and professional interests of scientists working in pathology at Bendigo Health, has raised concerns about the loss of 10 jobs with the private company which took over Bendigo Health's pathology service.

MSAV secretary Rosemary Kelly said it was "extremely difficult for Bendigo Health or the Victorian Health Minister David Davis, to claim there would be no reduction in services given the growing dependence on pathology testing in our public hospitals with around 85 per cent of all patient clinical diagnosis based on a pathology test of one form or another''.

“Our members are deeply concerned about which pathology services will be maintained at Bendigo Health especially in light of the tender requirements to provide a fully accredited pathology service 24 hours a day, seven days a week to meet the urgent and routine needs of Bendigo Health,'' she said.

"This includes rapid services to support the activities of the emergency department, intensive care unit, operating theatres, neonatal facilities, and for outpatient services, such as IVF, cancer and endocrine services.

"It is interesting that Bendigo Health made no mention of which services will stay at Bendigo Health and which will be transferred to Healthscope’s Melbourne-based operations.

“This is particularly interesting given the tender arrangements in place that require Healthscope to deliver pathology services on-site at Bendigo Health campuses.

“It’s clear to the Medical Scientists Association of Victoria and its members that the only way to guarantee quality pathology services, and quality health outcomes, at Bendigo Health is to bring pathology services back in-house.''

Bendigo Health chief executive John Mulder this week said that "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''.  "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.

Healthscope is expected to make further comment today.

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