Ted Baillieu: No Medical Physicists, No Radiotherapy. Vic Cancer Patients Deserve Better
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Victorian Medical Physics workforce shortages are approaching a critical point. This is a dangerous and urgent situation which must be addressed.
Medical Physicists ensure the safe and accurate use of radiation for the treatment of cancer and diagnosis of disease. The medical physicists workforce in Victoria is declining to numbers that are unsafe, as physicists are moving interstate for better paid jobs. Victorians’ access to timely and best practice cancer treatment is being compromised.
Ten years ago the federal government initiated an enquiry into the cancer workfore in Australia (the Baume Report). In 2002 the Report recommended, among other things, that the federal government set up a national body which would
“Take steps to improve workforce numbers by providing a better career path for medical physicists, with better remuneration and recognition for their roles. The number of entrants to these professions must also be increased. That is, we must increase simultaneously recruitment to, and reduce attrition from, the workforce.”
It was also recommended that the proposed national body should work closely with relevant unions to develop a nationally consistent approach to increased remuneration for medical physicists, which includes compensation for out-of-hours work and more appropriate links to accreditation and education. It was recommended that this negotiation should start no later than 2003.
The remuneration of physicists in other states has been addressed, starting with NSW in 2007, as a result of an independent decision by the NSW Industrial Commission which assessed the work value of physicists.
The Victorian government is well aware of the issues relating to the workforce shortage and wage disparity. The key issues have been communicated to Ted Baillieu and the Minister of Health on a number of occasions.
It would cost $2 million per year to fix the problem, in the context of a total Victorian health budget of $13.68 billion per annum.
Please sign this petition, and take the time to contact your local MP and ask them to raise the issue in parliament on your behalf.
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