Pathology closure sparks fear of delays for tests

The shock closure of a Colac pathology laboratory means patients will have to wait for their pathology results and treatment, with samples going to Geelong or Melbourne for testing.

The shock closure of a Colac pathology laboratory means patients will have to wait for their pathology results and treatment, with samples going to Geelong or Melbourne for testing.

Australian Clinical Laboratories announced it would close its service at Colac Hospital due to low patient numbers adding to a financial loss of $500,000 a year.

ACL said it would provide an extensive suite of point-of-care services and would “continue to conduct all specialist, urgent and routine pathology tests for Colac Area Health and the Colac Hospital, including the provision of urgent blood transfusion support at its Geelong facilities”.

It said its pathology sample collection service remained onsite at Colac Hospital and the current staff would continue in their roles.

ACL said it was working with local referring GPs and specialists about the change and wanted to ensure doctors and patients continued to have access to the same range of pathology services.

“The rate paid for each pathology sample has continued to decrease over the past 20 years and a small pathology service cannot remain financially viable if the fee paid for each test decreases to that extent,” an ACL statement said.

“The payment is less than the cost to provide the services.”

The Medical Scientists Association of Victoria secretary Paul Elliott said Clinical Labs informed the union of the closure last Tuesday and said the decision would immediately compromise the quality of care patients received at Colac Hospital.

See today’s Colac Herald for more.

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