MP calls for blood over closure

A FLOW of complaints from worried Maryborough Base Hospital staff has convinced MP Anne Maddern to call for an immediate review of the decision to close the hospital's pathology unit.

The controversial decision was announced during the State Budget on September 11, and the unit's six staff members were told a day later their positions would be cut.

The first-term MP faced major criticism from health workers, unions and the community for not taking a stronger stance when the closure was announced.

Both the Together Union and Queensland Nurses Union questioned her support for local workers at a rally outside the hospital on September 12.

Mrs Maddern yesterday called the entire decision process flawed and said Pathology Queensland had ambushed the Maryborough community with the decision.

She said she had met with Wide Bay Health Region chief executive Adrian Pennington on Thursday about her serious concerns about the decision.

Mrs Maddern said her position had always been that pathology services for Maryborough patients must remain at the same level.

She said her previous comments that service levels would not change came from assurances from Pathology Queensland.

"The issue is that they haven't convinced the clinicians," she said.

Mrs Maddern said yesterday she would now call on Pathology Queensland to meet with clinicians at the hospital.

While she declined to give an estimate of how many hospital staff she met with, Mrs Maddern said it had been a significant number.

"This whole process has been handled abysmally, leaving the pathology staff, hospital management and medical staff and the Maryborough community angry and upset," she said.

"Queensland Pathology must immediately review its decision, transparently and openly, in full consultation with our community."

Together Union industrial organiser for Wide Bay Donna Webster said they had been informed the pathology unit would lose a scientist position.

"The scientists have to reapply for their jobs," she said.

She said a temporary contract for another scientist would also not be renewed.

An online petition to stop the closure of the pathology unit has gained more than 1050 signatures.

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