MEDIA RELEASE | WEDNESDAY, 12 JULY 2017
Medical physicists at SA Health have today questioned the legality of privatising radiology services at the Royal Adelaide Hospital under the state’s radiation laws.
The workers, who have taken indefinite industrial action in response to the shock privatisation move, say there is no way a private company could legally tender for outsourced medical imaging services, because they would be required to transfer ownership of the equipment to a private company in order to comply with Radiation Regulations.
Professionals Australia’s SA Director, Sarah Andrews, said the tender must be dumped by the State Government and there was good reason that Act required the operator to also assume ownership the equipment.
“We’re talking about the safe management of radiation and we take that very seriously, both in terms of ensuring the safety of patients, and the staff operating the equipment.
“This tender is effectively illegal unless the Government intends to hand over tens of millions of dollars in radiology equipment to a private contractor because the organisation responsible for the safe use of radiation must also own the equipment.
Diagnostic Imaging Medical Physicists oversee the governance and safety of medical imaging equipment and ensure that the right doses of radiation are provided to patients, but also that medical professionals using the equipment aren’t unnecessarily exposed to radiation.
“Our members handle dangerous materials as part of their jobs and they make sure patients and staff are safe when imaging equipment is used. We cannot have a situation where a private contractor is responsible for radiation safety.
It is expected around 27,000 outpatient imaging exams will be conducted at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital per year using outpatient imaging equipment including 2 MRI machines; 2 CT Scanners; 3 x-ray machines; 4 ultrasound machines; and 1 mammography unit – estimated to be worth more than $10 million.
“Our members are the only staff qualified to commission imaging equipment at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital and to investigate cases of radiation overexposure. They will not have the authority to perform this work should the Government go ahead with privatisation.”
Ms Andrews also raised concern about private health information being handed over to a private company as the tender would require integration of SA Health’s IT systems with a private provider’s IT system.
“Giving a private provider access to SA Health’s IT Systems raises concerns about patient data being released to a private provider.”
Staff have continued their indefinite industrial action and the case before the Industrial Relations Commission has been adjourned until Thursday 13 July.
Media contact: Tim O’Halloran 0409 059 617
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