Industrial Action Escalates as Allied Health Professionals leave ACT


Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) members who work in Canberra Health Services’ Medical Imaging Department will be taking further industrial action, after pay and conditions negotiations failed to address key worker concerns.

This will be the second round of industrial action taken by CHS Medical Imaging staff, with union members again undertaking a 48-hour ban on overtime.

This action will start at 12.01am on Friday 27 October and end at 11.59pm Saturday 18 November 2023.

Negotiations have been underway for nearly eighteen months but have so far fallen short in delivering improvements to pay and conditions that would see critical allied health workers stay in Canberra.

This industrial action notification came shortly after damning figures were released showing the expanding surgery wait times in the ACT.

Medical Imaging staff play a critical and vital role in the delivery of surgeries. Radiographers are required for most, if not all surgeries in the ACT. From trauma cases, helping surgeons to understand the positioning of bones, plates and screws after a traumatic incident, as well as ensuring the placement of prosthetics are correct avoiding further surgery. Radiographers are critical in gastroenterology surgery, including cholecystectomy and appendectomy via keyhole surgery, ensuring that there are no gastric leaks or bleeds. Radiographers work hand in hand with Neurosurgeons, including when operations include spinal surgeries, ensuring that the surgeon is working at the right level within the patient as to not cause inadvertent damage.

These are just a handful of examples of how these workers play a critical role in theatre teams, providing a safe surgical experience for patients.

If the Government does not listen, Allied Health workers will continue to leave to other jurisdictions where they have better pay, better conditions and work less hours.

Quotes attributable to Brooke Muscat, CPSU National President:

“The ACT Government and Canberra Health Services need to act fast.

“There are serious shortages of Allied Health professionals across the service, which if left unaddressed, will lead to more delays, unsafe work practices and services dropping below the standards expected by the Canberra Community.

“CPSU members don’t want to take Industrial Action, but when the Government gives staff nothing but radio silence, it’s difficult for members to do anything else.

“Chief Minister Andrew Barr needs to step in – for our Allied Health Workers and for the Canberrans who rely on them.

“Our members have three simple asks: a commitment to talking about safe staffing levels during the life of the Agreement; additional time off after working excessive shift work and overtime; and pay scales that allow for decent career progression.

“Our Allied Health Professionals are telling Canberra Health Services and the ACT Government what they need to stay local and deliver safe services here in Canberra, but in failing to listen, the Government is telling them to go.

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