Fears for health jobs as privatisation looms

PLANS to privatise the city's medical imagery services will have community members and health professionals rallying at the Gladstone Base Hospital on Tuesday.

Local health professionals say they fear for their jobs as the Central Queensland Hospital Health Board pushes ahead with the privatisation plan.

The Newman government has flagged privatisation of services in Gladstone, Biloela, Mt Larcom, Rockhampton and other central Queensland areas.

The services will remain open to the public, but will be run by a private company with government funding.

More than 1000 signatures have been collected for an online petition against the move.

The United Voice union said it feared there would be cutbacks.

Union spokesman Damien Davie said patients could be put second under the changes.

"In our experience of this happening, their (private owner) main objective is to return a dividend to their shareholders. But with public health, their number one priority is patients," Mr Davie said.

"As far as Gladstone goes, who knows what will happen when it goes to a private operator. Gladstone has a good hospital and a medial imagery service that they should be proud of."

The rally will be held at 12pm tomorrow in front of Gladstone Base Hospital.

Mr Davie said the move could bring cuts to Biloela and Mt Larcom services.

"It's disastrous for Biloela and Mt Larcom as they will get a reduction in services," he said. "They will just get a visiting radiographer."

Radiographer of 22 years, and union delegate, Sam Horniblow, said she was angry at the proposed change.

"I think it's diabolical," she said. "Private companies have to make a profit.

"That all leads to reducing appointment times so patients won't get the care they deserve.

"It's very rushed. I can't see how it's going to run smoothly in a short period of time.

"We were informed in a meeting in March and then another one in April.

"Three weeks ago they had chosen two people to put a tender in and the tender closed last Monday.

"The time scale is too short."

Topics:  central queensland health service gladstone health privatisation

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