Business as usual at Maryborough Base Hospital pathology unit - for now.
Business as usual at Maryborough Base Hospital pathology unit - for now. Alistair Brightman

Pathologists still in limbo

STAFF at Maryborough Base Hospital pathology unit have moved to reassure patients the service is still running, even as they are left in limbo by Pathology Queensland.

Almost a month after it was announced the unit would close, its six staff are still waiting to find out when they will officially shut the doors.

Two staff members, who did not wish to be named, said sample collection hours at the hospital would drop to less than a quarter of what they are now.

Once the unit is shutdown, it is understood the collection will be left to one phlebotomist from Hervey Bay Hospital who will travel to Maryborough each day and have five hours to collect both inpatient and outpatient samples.

The samples will then be tested from Hervey Bay Hospital or in the case of microbiology testing, flown to the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

At Maryborough Base Hospital now, three phlebotomists each spend eight hours a day collecting samples.

One staff member in the Maryborough unit said even other departments in the hospital were in the dark about when the unit would shutdown.

They said patients waited about 10-15 minutes for pathology services in Maryborough and about 30 minutes in Hervey Bay.

Both staff members said those waiting times would balloon under the new system with the workload at the Hervey Bay pathology unit increasing by about 30%.

They reassured patients and other hospital staff the pathology unit would continue to operate as normal until the closure.

The Hervey Bay Hospital Pathology unit will also lose one scientist in the changes.

Queensland Health was unable to provide a response yesterday on how many hours will be spent collecting samples at Maryborough following the closure.



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