Any doubt removed - SA Pathology to stay in public hands

Media Release
22 April 2020

Professionals Australia today congratulated the Government for listening to the voice of scientists who have made the case against privatisation through their union for several years.

The SA Health Minister today confirmed on radio that “The Government is putting to bed the option of outsourcing pathology services. SA Pathology will continue in public hands.”

SA Director of Professionals Australia said the service was never a good fit for privatisation as we have learnt from the COVID-19 crisis.

“You simply must have surge capacity in SA Pathology to respond to crises like this one,” Ms Andrews said.

“This is a huge victory for every scientist and technical officer who joined their union and fought the good fight to protect a critical public health service.”

Professionals Australia has run the STOP the Health Cell-Off campaign for the past two years arguing that privatisation would strip SA Pathology of crucial capacity. “Having a local public service is critical because it means you’re not reliant on interstate testing.

“Whether its COVID-19, the flu or an outbreak in the state’s water supply, scientists at SA Pathology are at the frontline of containing the crisis and saving lives.”

“Workers at SA Pathology can now focus on their job and continuing to provide a world-class testing service that enables us to diagnose and treat patients quickly and efficiently.” Ms Andrews said the union would now work with the Government and SA Pathology on delivering a great public service and retaining the best medical scientists and technical officers for South Australia.

“These people are heroes on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis. The Virology team in SA Pathology was able to design and get a validated testing method up and running, within two weeks with other kits sold out worldwide and unavailable.

“This in-house testing was available a week before the British national health system with their large pool of laboratory experts were able to have their in house testing up and running." They have worked tirelessly to be one of the highest-testing jurisdictions in the world which has been proven to be pivotal in flattening the curve.

“We need to make sure that we retain these people by making SA Pathology a great public service to work in.”

Media contact: Tim O'Halloran 0409 059 617