Staff at Barwon Medical Imaging are taking a stand against the threat of cuts to health services at Barwon Health.

Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association (VAHPA) members from Barwon Medical Imaging attended the Annual General Meeting of Barwon Health to highlight the service and staffing cutbacks being pursued by the organisation.

Earlier in November, a meeting of VAHPA members at Barwon Medical Imaging (a part of Barwon Health) unanimously opposed staffing cuts and called on Barwon Health to recruit the necessary staff needed to safely run the new $2 million-dollar CT scanner.

Barwon Health staff, VAHPA, as well as the wider community, are deeply concerned that the Barwon Health agenda of service cuts and refusing to safely staff the new equipment will adversely impact on the provision of public healthcare to the greater Geelong community.

VAHPA also notes the comments by Ruth Salom, in a recent op-ed for the Geelong Advertiser, on 21 November 2018, praising Australia’s system of healthcare. Given these comments, VAHPA thinks it is extremely hypocritical of Barwon Health to be restricting access to public health services at Barwon Health as this undermines the healthcare system that Ms Salom praised.

The Barwon Health Annual General Meeting was held on the 29th of November, at St Mary’s Library and Research Centre.

Quotes attributable to Andrew Hewat, VAHPA Assistant Secretary:

“This should have been a good news story – Barwon Health has built a brand-new emergency imaging hub with a state of the art world class CT scanner with tax payer’s money. Instead of celebrating the opening of this new facility, Barwon Health are refusing to recruit the staff needed to safely and effectively run this machine and so now it sits idle.”

“The Geelong community will be the biggest losers if Barwon Health continues down this path of putting dollars ahead of patients. There is a clear shift in the philosophy of Barwon Health away from providing universal health care to all of the community, to only providing it to ‘Barwon Health patients’.”

“The Barwon Health Emergency Department is in daily bed-block to the extent that patients are now being transferred to St John of God Hospital as a critical contingency because of the pressure on services. Access to essential CT scans using this new scanner can help expedite the management and treatment of patients improving the patient flow through emergency and the wards. This however requires the recruitment of sufficient staff to safely and effectively run this machine, something Barwon Health so far has not done.”

“The number of Emergency Department patients needing CT overnight has doubled in the last 2 years. After adding a second nightshift radiographer earlier this year to help cope with the ever-increasing Emergency Department patients who present overnight, Barwon Health is now looking to reduce the nightshift funding. Not only does this not make sense for the patients, this will put pressure on the sole nightshift radiographer, which will create an unsafe working environment.”

For further comment, contact:

Andrew Hewat

Mobile: 0427 673 205