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Stop Playing with NSW health

This petition had 2,568 supporters


The Public Health Food laboratories have been serving the community of NSW for over 120 years. They have provided NSW with accurate, precise and high quality testing and monitoring over this time. These labs do not have private interests to protect and are impartial to any private interests.


On the morning of 15/4/14 without notice the Public Health Food staff were informed that they were no longer required and that they were to be "deleted from the network”. The director of NSW Pathology, Forensic Analytical and Science Services (FASS) wrote to the Health Services Union (HSU) alleging that FASS has done as much as possible to “find efficiencies and improve the long term sustainability of the laboratories". He then goes on to say that we do not offer the "full scope of services that the Food Authority requires". This has never been raised by the NSW Food Authority (FA) at operational or service level management meetings. There has been no consultation and or attempt to improve services or retain what services the Public Health Food laboratories currently provide.


Over the last 6 months it has been clear that Public Health was no longer of any interest to the NSW government. Managers of laboratories have been asking for permission to apply for tenders only to be rejected or completely ignored by the Director of FASS. This has been a direct attack on these laboratories in the interest of private businesses.  


The NSW Ministry of Health is prepared to see this critical service cut, with the services being moved to private providers. The impartial and diligent testing provided by FASS ensures that the quality and safety of food supply in NSW is protected and maintained. Foodborne disease outbreaks can affect large numbers of the community and require a rapid response. Samples received in the investigation of outbreaks are always given the highest priority. These laboratories have years of knowledge and dedication to safeguarding the health of NSW residents. They now require your support.


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We, the undersigned, call on the responsible ministers, the Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, and the Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, to ensure that the Forensic Analytical and Science Services (FASS) and Food Authority reinstate the service level agreement which was broken without any consultation with staff at FASS. We call on you to commit to open negotiations between FASS, Food Authority and the Health Services Union to ensure the continuation of this service in public hands.


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