Maryborough pathology unit reopening gains support

HUNDREDS of people have already shown their support through a petition to reinstate the pathology unit at Maryborough Hospital.

Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders, the petition organiser, says hundreds of signatures have been collected on paper.

As well, the online version available at the Queensland Parliament website has received more than 50 "signatures" in about three days.

Mr Saunders has called for the Queensland Government to restore the pathology department at the hospital.

His petition says the closed pathology department has resulted in delays and could have life-threatening consequences.

Maryborough Hospital's pathology unit was closed in December 2012 after a round of budget cuts.

Six people lost their jobs and Hervey Bay Hospital took over blood collection and testing.

Since the closure, pathology-related samples have been transported by a courier service between Maryborough and Hervey Bay hospitals.

Mr Saunders said Maryborough was the only hospital on the east coast without a pathology department.

"People I've spoken to said we need this service," he said.

"It was a disgraceful decision to remove it."

He said residents were being treated like second-class citizens and asked why Hervey Bay, Gympie and Bundaberg were allowed to have pathology units but not Maryborough.

"People in Maryborough pay taxes, they work and are good citizens, great people - why are they treated differently?" he said.

Mr Saunders hopes the six-week petition will attract at least 10,000 signatures but says he will be happy with as many as possible.

Mayor Gerard O'Connell agreed a pathology unit at Maryborough Hospital was essential and supported the petition.

Cr O'Connell said Maryborough was close to the highway, was a large sporting town and had manufacturing industries - all of which required a sustainable health service.

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service chief executive Adrian Pennington has also supported the call for an independent review of pathology services.

Residents can vote on this petition online. Visit http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au, click on "sign a petition" at the bottom of the page, visit current e-petitions and find the Maryborough pathology unit document.

- APN NEWSDESK