MP Anne Maddern.
MP Anne Maddern. Alistair Brightman

Union to protest blood lab closure

THE jobs of six blood specialists based in Maryborough hospital are at risk after a new round of funding cuts revealed in the Newman government budget.

Between them, the health professionals have served the sick of the region for more than 100 years.

Union uproar greeted the news that laboratory services will be transferred to Hervey Bay.

The pathology laboratory will close by the end of the year.

The six people providing pathology services at the Maryborough laboratory will be offered placement or a voluntary redundancy, Health Services Support Agency chief executive Kathy Byrne said.

The pathology unit will effectively become a blood collection service, with limited blood analysis done via a mobile unit.

Assistant secretary of the Queensland Nurses Union Des Elder said pressure was building on health workers.

"Who will be left to collect the blood - you can bet that responsibility will devolve back to current staff who are already overloaded."

Together Union spokesman Ron Fossen said a protest rally had been called for 5pm today in Bazaar St, Maryborough, and urged anybody who has been hurt by Newman government cuts to attend.

For Member for Maryborough Anne Maddern, the filleting of the pathology unit is an embarrassment given her long support of it.

In correspondence with the Chronicle in June, 2011, while spokeswoman for the Maryborough Hospital Lobby Group, Ms Maddern wrote: "Closure of the pathology will mean a downgrade of the hospital and as one qualified health person expressed to me 'you might as well close the hospital'."

"It is critical that the services be retained in the Maryborough Hospital."

In February or March, 2012, in an electoral leaflet, Ms Maddern again expressed her determination to keep pathology services at Maryborough hospital.

Then, in August, Ms Maddern was wrong-footed by the State Government knocking back $24 million in federal funding for mental health on the Fraser Coast, citing budget constraints.

It cost her electorate a $4.7 million upgrade to the mental health unit at the Maryborough hospital.

With regard to the pathology unit, Ms Maddern said losing the jobs was a disappointment.

"But services as far as patients are concerned will look and feel exactly the same," she said.

Ms Maddern pointed to improved dialysis services and rehab upgrades as evidence of an LNP commitment to local health.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg was contacted for comment but did not respond prior to the Chronicle going to press.



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