Radiation therapists to walk off the job over pay dispute

Australian Seniors News, 19th September 2023

Radiation therapists at Canberra Hospital will walk off the job and protest for an hour from 2:45pm this afternoon over stalled pay deal negotiations with the ACT Government.

“Radiation therapists are not a nice-to-have, they are a must-have,” said Health Services Union NSW Secretary, Gerard Hayes.

“It’s hard to fathom why the ACT Government is dragging its feet on this issue. Does it actively want to drive these radiation therapists to Queensland, where the wages are higher, the housing is cheaper and the workforce is more respected?

“Canberra Hospital has already lost 19 radiation therapists in the last few years, from a workforce of about 50. That should be ringing alarm bells in the corridors of power.

“Radiation therapy is not something you want to leave to good luck. These workers are highly skilled, and absolutely critical to patient care. They deserve respect and a competitive salary.”

Mr Hayes said Queensland had recently awarded radiation therapists an interim 25% wage rise as they wait for the determination of a work value case that will recognise the increased complexity and skills required to do the job.

But despite Canberra Hospital losing 19 radiation therapists in the last three years, the Government is dragging its feet on negotiating a salary scale that will attract and retain the critically important workforce, he said.

“Radiation therapists ensure the safe, effective, and precise delivery of radiation therapy and are integral members of the radiation oncology team. They plan and precisely deliver radiation therapy, collaborating closely with oncologists and medical physicists to develop individualised treatment plans that detail the precise radiation dose to be delivered.”

“The roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of radiation therapists have evolved along with the rapid technological advances. The radiation therapy workforce is not recognised for this vastly increased skillset with appropriate salaries,” said Mr Hayes.