‘Aggressive’ staff cuts refuted

CLAIMS “aggressive” staff cuts at Gippsland Pathology have put patients at risk have been refuted by the service.

This week the Medical Scientists Association of Victoria said there had been continued cuts to scientific staff at Dorevitch Pathology and Gippsland Pathology, which service Gippsland patients, “despite the number and volume of pathology tests dramatically increasing”.

MSAV assistant secretary Paul Elliot said there was a growing dependency on pathology testing in major public acute care hospitals, “highlighted by the fact that around 85 per cent of all patient clinical diagnosis is based on a pathology test of one form or another”.

While he called on state and federal health authorities to ensure providers like Dorevitch and Gippsland Pathology “aren’t putting at jeopardy patients’ test results by continuing to slash their scientific workforces,” a spokesperson for those services denied the cuts had taken place.

“Gippsland Pathology and Dorevitch Pathology refute the staffing claims made by the MSAV on the basis that staffing levels at our laboratory have not declined in recent years but have been increased,” the spokesperson said.

A statement issued by the pathology service accused the MSAV of maintaining a “long and sustained campaign targeting Gippsland Pathology and Dorevitch Pathology over recent years, despite the fact that we have continually exceeded the service requirements required by the hospitals, medical and local community”.

Mr Elliot told The Express his recent meetings with Gippsland staff indicated they were forced to deal with “more and more work” being “piled on to fewer scientific staff” while Dorevitch and Gippsland Pathology ignored “the capacity of their workforces to complete the work”.

“Add to this a management culture of zero tolerance for being unable to complete untenable workloads and an indifference to increasing workloads and we end up with workplaces driven by fear,” he said.

In response, the Gippsland Pathology and Dorevitch spokesperson said the service valued and recognised “the strong contribution which our staff make in servicing the needs of the hospital, medical and local communities”.