Blood service to leave

Dorevitch Pathology will relocate another of its Latrobe Regional Hospital-based services to Melbourne as part of a centralisation plan it says won’t impact on the Gippsland community.

The private pathology company this week moved to clarify its decision, amid union claims it planned to sack between four and seven medical scientists from its molecular pathology laboratory at the hospital.

Dorevitch Pathology chief executive Neville Moller said the local molecular pathology facility served all the company’s laboratories across Australia for certain molecular tests and it would be moved to Melbourne to address logistical issues associated with getting national specimens to Gippsland.

Mr Moller said the molecular work was currently also conducted at Melbourne, however the majority of national work was done at the LRH lab.

“The range of testing for our national labs has increased to a point we now need to move (the local lab) to Melbourne,” he said.

Mr Moller said the move would affect four staff members, who had been offered positions either at Melbourne, or in other areas of the Gippsland lab. He said the company had spent $1 million on a purpose-built lab for molecular pathology testing in Melbourne, only the third lab of its kind in the state alongside Melbourne University and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

“This will have no impact on the services we provide to the Gippsland community. The turnaround time will be very similar for Gippsland,” Mr Moller said. The move comes as the State Government reviews the services contract between LRH and Dorevitch following union accusations of a decline in standards.

Earlier this year, Dorevitch transferred its tissue processing services from the hospital to Heidelberg.

Medical Scientists Association of Victoria executive officer Paul Elliott described Dorevitch’s latest move as a “slap in the face” for Latrobe Valley patients, particularly as the government review was underway.

“This move will further erode the capacity of the LRH to deliver world-class healthcare and with the hospital massively expanding oncology services, this latest move will have profound impacts on the ability of the hospital to deliver the best possible care when people need it,” Mr Elliott said. Mr Moller said a comprehensive range of pathology testing remained at LRH, under the supervision of four and a half pathologists.