Cardiac Technologists working in the cath labs at Geelong Cardiology Practice within Geelong Hospital are effectively having their jobs cut. Through rostering changes and now exclusion from training in the Labs their roles are being diminished. Barwon Health, once a renowned centre of excellence that prides itself on service delivery and the training of cardiac staff across the broad spectrum of diagnostic, therapeutic and interventional roles is now forcing Cardiac Technologists out of the cath labs.

This loss of access to the cath labs will have serious implications for the continuing development and training of Cardiac Technologists by excluding their exposure to the fundamentals of angiography, angioplasty, stenting, haemodynamics and the other high-end functions of the lab where they gain vital knowledge of all of these procedures and more importantly, the functional cardiac anatomy and pathology.

The Cardiac Technologists see this narrowing of their role as a dangerous precedent towards role replacement by nurses. While they acknowledge the nurses bring different but equally important skills to the labs, the Techs feel their own highly specialised skills are being undervalued and will be eroded by the loss of this traditional part of their job.

Barwon Health already has big problems with recruiting qualified Cardiac Sonographers. Many Cardiac Sonographers come from the pool of Cardiac Technologists and with this narrowing of their role and reduced job prospects, Barwon Health is going to further exacerbate their staffing issues.

VAHPA Assistant Secretary Andrew Hewat commented after meeting the affected staff,  “The Cardiac Technologists are highly trained, highly qualified specialists in their field. This attack on their profession is not being taken lightly and they are justifiably upset. I am not sure what is motivating Barwon Health to go down this path but it’s clearly not in the long term interests of Cardiac Services nor the general public to remove these health professionals from the labs.”