MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR NEW BARWON HEALTH FACILITY SET TO GATHER DUST
- World class CT scanner installed but has no staff employed to run it.
- $33 million desperately needed Barwon North development denied opportunity to get bulk-billing MRI licence.
Barwon Health is proudly boasting about the arrival of its new multi-million-dollar CT scanner at Barwon Medical Imaging. However, the public won’t get to see the machine as Barwon Health refuses to employ the necessary staff needed to operate it.
A meeting of Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association (VAHPA) members at Barwon Medical Imaging voted unanimously to reject Barwon Health’s proposal to open the new machine without the dedicated staff to run it.
Meanwhile, the CEO has blocked an application for a full Medicare bulk-billing MRI licence for the long awaited, desperately needed, $33 million Barwon North medical facility currently being built in Norlane. Senior hospital medicos are dumbfounded by this decision that will see this opportunity lost, depriving Geelong’s needy northern suburbs of this much needed service.
The Barwon Health board, with its CEO, has been running an agenda of corporatisation and cost-cutting; which includes the privatisation of vital health services that are not available elsewhere in the Geelong region. Pressure from the unions, including VAHPA, has seen this process halted but the threat is still real and ongoing.
If successful, these changes would eﬀectively force people in need into a user-pays system, or to travel further afield in order to access the services they need.
Staﬀ are questioning if the Barwon Health executive are following the organisation’s values and working in the true interests of the community they are supposed to serve. VAHPA calls on the Victorian State Government and Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy, to act.
VAHPA is fighting to keep public health services free and accessible for the public.
Quotes attributable to Andrew Hewat, VAHPA Assistant Secretary:
“This should have been a good news story for Barwon Health and the Geelong community. Instead we have a brand new, world-class CT scanner sitting idle with no staff to run it while the Emergency Department suffers daily bed-block.
“The lack of respect for staff by the Barwon Executive makes a mockery of Barwon Health’s values and has led to a loss of confidence in the leadership. The staff feel betrayed, disappointed and cheated.
“The decision to block an application for a fully funded Medicare MRI license is bewildering. No-one can comprehend the motivation behind this and again the northern suburbs will be the losers.
“The failure of Barwon Health to put the interests of the community at heart raises serious questions about the motivation and accountability of the organisation.”
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