VICTORIAN RADIATION THERAPISTS IN STATE-WIDE PROTESTS
LONG-STANDING CAREER STRUCTURE TO BE DISMANTLED
GENERIC MANAGERS TO REPLACE EXPERIENCED AND HIGHLY QUALIFIED RADIATION THERAPISTS
MOVE THREATENS PATIENT CARE
Victorian Radiation Therapists are set to hold the first in a series of state-wide protests today, Wednesday 13 February.
The move comes in the wake of a decision by Alfred Health to replace senior radiation therapists with lowly-paid generic managers.
The Victorian Allied Health Professional Association (VAHPA), the union covering allied health professionals in Victoria has been fighting the moves since June 2018.
“This is all about cost-cutting,” said VAHPA Secretary, Craig McGregor.
“Here we have a public hospital pushing on with major changes to its radiation oncology department against the recommendations of their own expert report, contrary to the view the state government’s health workforce people, and against the wishes the Radiation Therapists themselves. And all to save a few dollars!”
The Radiation Therapy career structure, crafted with the assistance of the Industrial Relations Commission over two years, is widely considered to be the career benchmark for Victorian allied health professions. This structure underpins the clinical, educational and managerial work performed by Radiation Therapists.
The Grade 6 Radiation Therapists are set to be replaced by generic Operations Managers who are not required to have any clinical experience in radiation therapy or any knowledge of the physics of ionising radiation, used in high doses by Radiation Therapists, to treat cancer.
“The idea that a generic manager, without a degree in medical radiations and lacking the necessary clinical expertise, could properly run a radiation oncology department is foolishness born of ignorance,” said McGregor.
“We are hugely concerned by the potential health implications of this move,” concluded McGregor.
VAHPA dragged Alfred Health before the Fair Work Commission on 8 February this year over an alleged failure to comply with the legal standards as set out in the Enterprise Agreement and to seek an urgent injunction to prevent Alfred Health from implementing their plan before the parties could engage in genuine consultation.
At that meeting Alfred Health gave undertakings as to their future conduct and committed to honouring their legal and industrial obligations.
The parties are set to return to the Commission today. VAHPA is seeking to have Alfred Health reverse this decision and to comply with its legal obligations in good faith.
Workers at radiation therapy departments across the state are set to protest from 12:30pm today to coincide with his hearing and are to consider options for escalating the campaign over the coming weeks and into the federal election.
As stated by Craig McGregor, VAHPA Secretary
“You might think that health-care was a serious priority for the state government, especially in light of the billions of dollars thrown at the nurses in recent weeks; it seems not.”
“Allied health professionals continue to be the forgotten health workers; this neglect must stop.”
“Alfred Health appears to be positioning itself at the forefront of the divisive neo-liberal movement in healthcare.”