Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt says uncertainty created by the Newman Government’s privatisation agenda is taking a psychological toll on frontline medical staff.

“Key workers who provide essential health services should feel secure in their jobs and confident that they are valued,” said Mr Pitt.

“But sadly that’s not the case these days for staff who fear “fee for service” in our state hospitals and the mass outsourcing of the services they provide.

“Medical science staff in hospital pathology labs, for example, believe their jobs are in the firing line and they are worried not only for their own futures, but that lives that will be at risk if their labs are closed.”

[singlepic id=543 w=320 h=240 float=left] Mr Pitt said the Newman Government has moved rapidly to commercialise the services of Pathology Queensland, which is why pathologists feel so insecure.

The contestability process for privatising Pathology Queensland is likely to be completed in the next two months and companies are circling like vultures waiting for the kill.

“Workers I have spoken to say they feel vulnerable and helpless and are worried that most people have no understanding of the services they provide.

“They say that if services are outsourced and small labs at regional hospitals are closed those hospitals will no longer be able to provide obstetric, dialysis and chemotherapy services.

“Private commercial pathology services turn blood tests round in a couple of days, but hospital labs work far more quickly and are capable of more complex testing.

“These scientists also work closely with medical staff to assist them with interpreting results and help to train medical students.

“It is absolutely vital that these functions are retained if, as seems inevitable, the Newman Government outsources pathology services to save money.

“The shakedown has already begun in earnest. Last year the number of staff employed by Pathology Queensland reduced by 105.

“So far this year the Rockhampton and Cairns labs have each lost three staff, the Royal Brisbane Hospital lab has shed 10 and staff have been lost at Toowoomba, Townsville, Bundaberg, Gold Coast and Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital.

“Staff are stressed and morale is low. These are people who care passionately about the work they do and the life-saving services they provide and they deserve far better than this.”

Mr Pitt said he was disgusted at the lack of communication from managers in Brisbane.

“This is a very anxious time for those who work in frontline medical services at our public hospitals and Health Minister Lawrence Springborg is doing nothing to ease that anxiety.

“Queenslanders should be aware of what is happening and the potential impact of the Newman Government’s policies on the services on which they rely.”