Southern breast-screening staff have to wait longer to know
whether they keep their jobs, because the health board is in
talks to outsource another service.
Staff had been told applications for jobs with new
breast-screening provider Pacific Radiology Group would open
However, the Southern District Health Board is in new talks
with Pacific over it providing the radiological component of
Previously, health unions criticised the board for not
deciding the future of screening and the diagnostic service
at the same time.
Public Service Association southern region organiser Julie
Morton said when contacted this week the delay and
uncertainty for staff was hugely stressful.
''We're told that Pacific Radiology want more time to look at
the implications, given they're going to pick up the
diagnostic work as well.''
''While that makes some sense, the difficulty is the
screening work has to be handed over by a certain date, so we
actually do need to get on with it.''
The two services were ''inextricably linked'' and it was
obvious one could not stand without the other. Ultimately,
the move was good for patients, who benefited from the
services staying together, she said.
Screening is a national service the health board announced
last year it was giving up, citing a lack of radiologists.
Pacific Radiology chief executive Lance Lawler said the
organisation wanted to get the jobs situation finalised as
soon as possible. It was hoped applications would open next
It was an ''anxious'' time for Pacific Radiology, as it had
to have its screening service up and running in August.
''We're running out of time ... we are as interested as
anybody in getting this sorted out,'' Dr Lawler said.
Patient services director Lexie O'Shea said in a statement
the board would continue to provide the breast surgeon,
breast-care nurse, administration staff, quality and
co-ordination functions of the breast service.
''This model would ensure that southern patients have the
right expertise available to them, in what will be a much
more sustainable service.''