The union for South Australian scientists, technical officers and medical physicists has condemned plans by the South Australian Government to commence the process to privatise pathology and medical imaging services.
They have called into question whether commitments had already been made to private providers.
The Health Minister has said in his Budget Media release that ‘efficiencies’ need to be pursued, amounting to $6.2m in medical imaging, and $45m in pathology, from 2020-21. Failure to achieve this would open outsourcing to private providers.
South Australian Director of Professionals Australia, Sarah Andrews said “You couldn’t get a more vital health service than pathology and medical imaging services”.
“Are we seriously saying that South Australia should be relying on private providers for our blood supply and medical imaging?
“There is a very good reason for these services to be in public hands: the consequence of a stuff-up could be your life.
“Pathology and medical imaging underpins diagnosis and treatment. Privatising these vital services will compromise patient safety, because with private providers, profit comes before quality.
“South Australians expect more than ‘efficiency’ from our health service. We expect reliable, safe, and timely diagnostic services. We remember what happened when the electricity network was privatised.
“Privatisation of health will lead to an increase in the cost of diagnosis and treatment, impact on patient care, and, in the case of medical imaging, may breach strict radiation safety legislation.” Ms Andrews said.
Australian Clinical Labs (ACL) is the major private pathology provider in Australia. ACL has been expanding apace in Adelaide, becoming a tenant in a $15 million state of the art pathology lab at the airport, and opening a collection centre in Elizabeth.
“You have to ask if private providers are already planning for privatisation. The government must ensure there are no links between their agencies and private pathology providers” Ms Andrews said.
Media contact: Erik Locke, 0408 880 319