Kelly in the Media

Kelly Vincent – Vision Australia Interview on SA Pathology Service Cuts

On 9th September 2015, Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent was interview on Vision Australia radio station to discuss cuts to the South Australian Pathology Service. She also discussed a concern that some employees with disabilities within the pathology service have been informed their positions are being moved to an agency called Spotless; whilst employees in the same department without disabilities have not been informed that they will move. Here is the audio and transcript from the interview.

Pam Green: Time now to welcome to 5RPH, Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent. Hi Kelly.

Kelly Vincent: Hi Pam.

Pam Green: Well I understand that the Government are cutting the SA Pathology service within SA Health and it’s causing a lot of concern. What’s happening here Kelly?

Kelly Vincent: Well we understand that there are in the order of 300 jobs set to go from SA Pathology and most of those jobs are in a technical laboratory kind of setting obviously being pathology. We’re concerned that not enough importance is being placed on the work of people working pathology and in labs and in an analytical sense working with people’s medical conditions because there tends to be a tendency for people to believe that a doctor looks at you and instantly figures out what’s wrong with you. And that’s not the case. Often we rely on pathology and deeper analysis to tell us what’s going on. But certainly in the order of 300 jobs going is concerning enough particularly since we’ve already lost many jobs in areas like the automotive industry. But we’re also concerned by the lack of attention given the importance of pathology and people’s overall health and wellbeing.

Pam Green: And why are the local pathology services important for people in South Australia?

Kelly Vincent: Well certainly for regional South Australian’s we think this will have severe impact, not only again because it’s job losses but also because in many regional areas the kind of pathology services that we’re talking about are really the only services available and so if you don’t have a local service available to do this work for you, it’s going to be harder to get a clear diagnosis potentially about what is potentially going on for patients in rural and remote areas. I think especially that does extend out to areas like the APY lands, Aboriginal lands where wholesale privatisation of regional pathology services could be potentially damaging because of many considerations including the geography.

Pam Green: Well even today in question time in Parliament you asked a question about employees with disability that work in the pathology service, and it seems that they have received letters that their colleagues without disabilities have not. What have you been told is going on here?

Kelly Vincent: Yes, well we understand that some employees who do identify as having a disability who work in the pathology section have received a letter saying that their position will move to an agency called Spotless in the new Royal Adelaide Hospital. What we’re concerned about is that it doesn’t seem from what we’ve been told that employees in the same department without disabilities have indication that their position will eventually be moved. So of course we don’t want to jump in and suggest that something that isn’t happening is, but certainly from the research that we’ve done so far and from what we’ve been told, it would seem as though the employees without disabilities have not received this letter. So we want to know if these employees have been specifically targeted and what the reason is for that and what provisions will be available for them under their new employment at the RAH.

Pam Green: Well did the Government give you any answers today about what will occur with the move of some SA pathology services from the RAH to the new campus at the other end of North Terrace?

Kelly Vincent: Well look Pam because the question that I asked really related to the Minister for Health for obvious reasons and he is in the Lower House and I’m in the Upper House so of course we’re not able to communicate directly during Parliament. But my question has been taken on notice by the relevant Minister in the Upper House and I’ve been assured that he will return with a response but certainly if we don’t receive a response in an adequate time frame, we will take other avenues to correspond with the Minister for Health on this because it is an important issue. As you are well aware Pam I am sure, people with disabilities face enough barriers to gaining long-term stable employment without their being any particular targeting of positions being moved on. And of course like I say, we don’t want to suggest that is what is happening, there may well be a good reason that some employees have received this letter and others haven’t. But from what we have looked into thus far it would look like there is potentially a problem that needs to be looked into further so we will continue to do that.

Pam Green: Once again, thanks for taking the time to talk to us again Kelly.

Kelly Vincent: That’s a pleasure. Thanks Pam