Media Release

Union launches new campaign to: Stop the health cell-off

Professionals Australia Director Sarah Andrews will today give evidence to the Parliamentary Select Committee on SA Pathology and Medical Imaging, saying the Government was deliberately setting health services up to fail so they could sell services off to the highest bidder.

Professionals Australia represents medical scientists working in SA Pathology as well as workers at the sleep laboratory at Royal Adelaide Hospital which the government was trying to close. It will today launch a new campaign to Stop the health cell-off.

“This Government decided on the answer before they even got to the inquiries and reviews they commissioned – they want to privatise our health services,” said Ms Andrews.

“All the reviews, all the problems the Government talks about with our health services – it is a rouse to give the Government a reasons to sell our health services.

“South Australians know what happens to services that are privatised – we’ve seen it with electricity – prices go up and service quality goes down.

“As a public health care provider, 100 per cent of SA Pathology’s tests are bulk billed but the public should start getting ready for that to change if its privatised.

“If the Government wants to sell-off public health services, they should think again because it will send a wrecking ball through the SA health system for good.”

The work of SA Pathology includes:

The food and environment laboratory identifies the toxins and its source and provides evidence for prosecution of companies that breach our state’s strict food safety laws.
In the event of a suspected white powder incident, SA Pathology’s PC3 can test the powder to determine if it is anthrax.
When South Australians are injured or ill and need live saving blood transfusions, SA Pathology ensures patients receive the blood and platelets they need.
Ms Andrews said there was no appetite among the public for these sort of services to be privatised and sold off to the highest bidder.

“If the Government proceeds with their plan to cut $45 million from SA Pathology’s budget, cut jobs and privatise, this service will be put at risk.

“The timely provision of pathology services has a direct impact on patient care. Delays to diagnosis lead to delays in treatment and South Australians stay sicker for longer.

“Delays can result in an outpatient deteriorating to the degree that they need to visit an emergency department and for existing inpatients, it can lead to longer bed stays.

“Ultimately, cost cutting will not result in savings as any reduction in cost at SA Pathology will be more than met by costs associated with longer hospital stays, increased strain on medical staff, and the need for more serious and costly medical treatments.”

Media contact: Tim O’Halloran 0409 059 617