Port Macquarie Base Hospital staff are continuing to provide support transferring medical imaging patients within the hospital.
This is despite Health Services Union workers commencing a series of work bans.
HSU NSW secretary Gerard Hayes says the work bans were introduced in response to revelations of "privatisation creep" at the hospital.
Multi-national firm I-MED recently took over the medical imaging services at the hospital.
Mr Hayes says patients going to and from the medical imaging department were previously transferred by hospital-employed wardspersons, however that work is now being performed by private wardspersons employed by I-MED.
However, Mid North Coast Local Health District Hastings Macleay Clinical Network Coordinator Jane Evans says there have been no changes made in relation to the new provider.
"As was the case prior to I-MED Radiology Network being awarded the contract, Port Macquarie Base Hospital staff provide support transferring medical imaging patients within the hospital," Ms Evans said.
"Staff who were previously transferring medical imaging patients continue to do so now.
"There have been no job losses.
"Nothing has changed in this regard other than the provider.
Nothing has changed in this regard other than the provider.Jane Evans
"Other staffing arrangements for the medical imaging service specifically, are determined by I-MED Radiology Network," she said.
Mr Hayes says I-MED has been contracted to perform a specific function.
"But they are already extending their tentacles into other parts of public hospital operations that can and should be performed by public hospital staff," he said.
“This is a clear example of privatisation creep, and a betrayal of the previous commitments that hospital management have made to staff
“We must be vigilant to ensure that the privatisation of particular services is not used as a Trojan Horse to allow for-profit companies to take over our public hospitals.
“It’s also important that the local community gets behind their local health workers, and pressures the state government to stop any future privatisations of public hospital services.”
It’s also important that the local community gets behind their local health workers, and pressures the state government to stop any future privatisations of public hospital services.Gerard Hayes
Mr Hayes said HSU members at Port Macquarie Base Hospital commenced a series of work bans from midnight on Saturday December 1, 2018.
Under these work bans, no HSU member will:
- assist in the transferring of patients into nor out of the medical imaging department;
- assist any worker that is privately employed to undertake the portering of patients or duties inside of the medical imaging department;
- undertake any other services (allied health services, cleaning services, administration services, food service provisions) in medical imaging department; and
- undertake the process of billing of patients, the collation of private health insurance details or any other function that assists in revenue raising for the Port Macquarie Base Hospital for patients requiring medical imaging services either as inpatients or outpatients.
Ms Evans said the health district had been in consultation with the Health Services Union and other relevant associations since August 2017 regarding the open tender process for the provision of medical imaging services for the Hastings Macleay Clinical Network, which includes Port Macquarie Base Hospital.
In early September the HSU was advised the contract for medical imaging services had been awarded to the I-MED Radiology Network, she said.
"Port Macquarie Base Hospital continues to provide excellent healthcare to its patients and their families," she added.
I-MED started its contract on December 1 and was contacted for comment.
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