Therese Crollick.
Therese Crollick.



NORTH Coast Area Health Service executive officer Chris Crawford has denied claims that he knew months ago that the Grafton Base Hospital pathology laboratory had lost its accreditation.

One pathology staffer, who declined to be named, accused Mr Crawford of knowing that the Grafton arm of the Northern Rivers Pathology Service's (NRPS) accreditation had been suspended.

"The initial report right after the inspection cited some problems and he was fully aware of that report, so for him to come out and say that he didn't know, well that's just blatantly not true," the staffer said.

But Mr Crawford 'absolutely denied' that he knew about the pathology lab's failure to pass its inspection before he was informed last week.

"Yes, it was on the NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities) website, but I don't go on there every day to look for these things, and I don't think I should have to go looking on a website to know what my own pathology lab is doing," he said.

Medical staff and union representatives have also slammed Mr Crawford for comments which they believe displayed little support for pathology staff.

Lismore Base Hospital health services union vice-president Therese Crollick said lapses in high-level management ultimately were the reason the laboratory lost its accreditation after an inspection last November.

"The bottom line is that this is not something that has happened over the past few months. This problem with managing the pathology services has been going on for years and it is his (Mr Crawford's) end which has fallen down," Ms Crollick said.

"It's not a question of whether the staff at the Grafton pathology lab are competent ? they are. They should not be having the blame put on them for this ... because management just haven't provided the resources for them to do their jobs properly."

But Mr Crawford said he had not heard any complaints from the Grafton pathology service staff, despite sending out an electronic newsletter each month.

"Each month I send out that email inviting people with concerns to approach me, and no-one from Grafton pathology has done that," he said.

"The reasons for (NRPS) losing its accreditation were not spelt out in the report from NATA and that's why I've ordered an inquiry into what happened before the assessment and why we lost it.

"If that comes back and says that staffing leves are not high enough, well that's something we'll look into. But we just have to wait and see what it says."

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