|Media Release - Medical Physicists - 25 Jul 2012|
BAILLEAU GOVERNMENT PUTS CANCER PATIENTS AT RISK IN BALLARAT & OTHER REGIONAL CENTRES
MEDICAL PHYSICISTS TO ESCALATE INDUSTRIAL ACTION
The shortage of medical physicists, especially in regional Victoria, is slowing down the commissioning of new radiation therapy equipment and the use of existing equipment, leading to long waiting lists for patients.
Patients in Ballarat already face a 9 week wait for cancer radiation treatment – twice the wait of city patients.
“Medical physicists are sick of the government’s inaction, and have voted to commence a campaign of industrial action to bring home the consequences of the shortage of medical physicists to the public”, the secretary of the Medical Scientists Association of Victoria, Dr Rosemary Kelly, said today.
“Our members have been working extended hours and working through their lunch breaks & rest breaks in order to patch up services and make up for the shortage of physicists in Victoria - they are just not prepared to continue to prop up the system” she added.
There is a world-wide shortage of medical physicists and a big pay gap between Victoria and NSW – meaning that public cancer services in Victoria are unable to attract and retain sufficient physicists to maintain current services let alone commission new radiation therapy equipment.
Health Services are resorting to super-expensive ‘fly in fly out’ medical physicists from NSW to commission new equipment, including at Ballarat. At the same time the Victorian government is refusing to match NSW pay rates for Victorian physicists.
Two more physicists are needed in Ballarat now plus another 2 physicists to commission and run the new Ballarat integrated cancer service when it commences operation.
The Minister for Health, David Davis, is well aware of the issues but refuses to take act despite numerous letters & having met with the Union and physicists while in opposition.
The industrial action includes