Patients and staff could both suffer if SA Pathology’s Murray Bridge operations are outsourced according to Family First MP Robert Brokenshire.Patients and staff could both suffer if SA Pathology’s Murray Bridge operations are outsourced, Family First MP Robert Brokenshire believes.

A review of the organisation has recommended the State Government consider outsourcing its regional laboratory operations, such as the one at the Murray Bridge hospital, to private companies.

Review authors Ernst and Young were not able to put a figure on how much money the measure would save SA Pathology.

But they did find the organisation had failed to meet a savings target of 12 per cent of its budget, and that its diagnostic services in particular cost almost 50pc more than was acceptable.

In total, the outsourcing and five other recommendations could save up to $43.6 million and result in the loss of the equivalent of 332 full time jobs.

An SA Health spokesperson said the report made no recommendations to change services in regional areas.

However, Mr Brokenshire criticised what he called a slippery step on the slope to privatisation.

“Medical practitioners and patients could be at risk all because the government is looking for an easy fix to its budget woes,” he said.

“A lot of the work done by the men and women at these laboratories needs to be done quick and efficiently.

“Cutting jobs and privatising regional labs is not the solution.”

Staff and other stakeholders will be consulted on the changes before February 6, and the State Government will respond after that.

As well as its Murray Bridge laboratory, SA Pathology has patient collection centres at the hospital, Bridge Clinic, Southside Clinic and Mannum Medical Centre.

– Details: Staff and stakeholders are invited to comment on the proposals before February 6 by writing to health.sapatholog [email protected] or Consultation SA Pathology Review, Office for Business Review and Implementa-tion, GPO Box 287, Adelaide, SA 5000.

Critic: Family First MP Robert Brokenshire is sceptical about proposed changes to SA Pathology that could include outsourcing the operation of its Murray Bridge laboratory.

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