We jointly write regarding the future of our public pathology provider SA Pathology – specifically in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. As you have acknowledged, SA Pathology has performed exceptionally well in responding to the coronavirus outbreak in recent weeks.
The expert and trained staff have responded, worked overtime and delivered testing capability the equal of anywhere in the world. On Wednesday last week more tests had been conducted in South Australia (5,500), than in the entire United States (4,400). These staff have met these needs in the face of enormous pressure under the continued rollout of voluntary separation packages and funding cuts. If SA Pathology had been privatised when coronavirus broke, South Australia would have been left poorly prepared. SA Pathology’s testing, research and diagnostic roles are all critical components of our State’s public health management capabilities, particularly in a pandemic. As the flu season approaches and coronavirus continues to spread, SA Pathology’s ability to turn test results around in a timely manner will heavily influence the effectiveness of our State’s response. The faster we identify positive cases, the sooner that strategies can be rolled out in response to those cases.
Therefore the time to act is now to secure the future of SA Pathology in public hands, and with the resources it needs.