The Greater Western Area Health Service is guaranteeing jobs and patient care as it loses control of Orana Pathology Service (OPS) that works out of Dubbo Base Hospital and runs a collection centre in Brisbane Street.
OPS is reported to be “transitioning” to the Western Pathology Cluster (WPC), a business unit of Sydney West Area Health Service, as a “final step” in the transfer of pathology services resulting from a statewide review of NSW Health laboratories.
WPC, a complex public pathology service, is already at work within the Greater Western communities of Orange, Bathurst, Bourke, Cowra, Forbes, Broken Hill, Walgett and Mudgee.
Yesterday a spokesperson for the Greater Western confirmed that Orana Pathology Service was joining WPC but emphasised that the “there is no relocation or loss of jobs”.
Orana Pathology Service has about 40 employees including collectors, pathologists, clerical and scientific staff.
“Staff will transition to a new public employer and not report to Greater Western Area Health Service,” the spokesperson said.
“There have been no plans to downgrade the Dubbo laboratory, and in partnership with Greater Western Area Health Service is planning to move towards a 24/7 service and enhancements in arrangements with the far west laboratories that also sit within the Western Pathology Cluster.”
The spokesperson insisted “there is no change to patient service”.
“Patients will have the same collectors they have always had,” he said.
The licensed collection centre in Brisbane Street would become part of Western Pathology Cluster and “a lease extension has already occurred”.
The spokesperson said Greater Western laboratories would be partnered with the Nepean laboratory of the WPC.
“This partnership provides pathology services for this area health service that because of low volume of particular tests, it is not viable for the area health service to purchase the expensive equipment required,” he said.
“Economies of scale are achieved. This particularly applies to some forms of genetic testing and some therapeutic drug assays.
“The partnership with the Nepean laboratory will provide access to specialty testing at a major laboratory within a closer range than is currently available.”
Western Pathology Cluster operates within three area health services in the State.
“Orana Pathology Service provides diagnostic services to all the hospitals in the region, for example, Lourdes, Cobar, Wellington and Coonamble,” the Greater Western spokesperson said.
“It also provides these services to GP and specialist services who require it.”