Chris Picton MP Laboratory Tour for Australian Pathology
Chris is the Shadow Minister for Health and Wellbeing and the Member for Kaurna in the southern suburbs of Adelaide.
The Clinpath Pathology Mile End Laboratory Tour was held on 9 July 2020.
Addressing public health issues is a key role that private pathology plays.
Six months ago, we didn’t even know there was such a virus as COVID-19, nor how contagious it was, or how it would affect Australians and the world.
To keep our infection rates low, testing, identifying the virus in the community and tracing is essential. Testing is the only way to diagnose the virus, the positive cases. Our specialist laboratory staff and front line service staff have done an outstanding job.
Within a couple of weeks we:
- Quickly worked up highly specialised DNA COVID tests
- Secured enough test kits and personal protective equipment to meet health demand for testing
- Working proactively with various State and federal Governments and the public sector all of which have different testing criteria – which changed regularly and we delivered the testing accordingly.
- Trained our front line staff
- Established specialised clinics, including drive through clinics
- All in the environment of a large drop off in other testing
Our response is the envy of other nations globally, our testing rate is one of the highest in the world and many other nations are looking to model what we have implemented here in Australia.
Australia has the highest rate of detecting COVID-19 in symptomatic patients in the world.
This effort combined with the efforts of clinicians and the other measures initiated by Government and enacted by the community flattened the curve and has brought the pandemic under control.
Over 1.5 million tests have been completed and the private sector has delivered more than half of these, higher in some states and territories (VIC, QLD, NSW), helping Australia to have one of the lowest mortality rates or death rates in the world.
During the pandemic we have seen significant inflation with medical supplies required to undertake all sort of testing – things like swabs, gowns, alcohol swabs and other protective equipment to keep our staff and patients safe. We have seen prices of essential pathology testing items rise significantly. Swabs have risen from around 50 cents and item to $3 an item. Gowns from $1.65 a gown to $5.50 a gown with some charging as much as $13.27, and Alcohol swabs double in price from $50 a box to $99 a box.
These price increases are clearly out of our control and make up the cost of undertaking the testing.
*This article was originally published in the Doctors Newsletter Edition 6
The Mile End Laboratory Tour
The tour showcased each laboratory area including the Anatomical Laboratory (Histology/Cytology), Infectious Diseases and Molecular/Serology Laboratories and the Core/Chemistry Laboratory.
The Mile End lab is supported by a network of 7 other main laboratories (Calvary Adelaide, Calvary Central Districts, Calvary North Adelaide, St Andrew’s Hospital, St Andrew’s Oncology, Tennyson Centre and Western Hospital), 160 collection centres and a fleet of 50 courier cars.