CFMEU: underqualified medical practitioners expose miners to greater Black Lung danger

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The CFMEU has raised concerns that health professionals assigned to review x-rays of the mining workforce are not qualified for the task, despite the fact that the Chief Inspector of Coal Mines told workers in December that radiologists in Queensland are trained to the required standards.

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The suspicions arose after members of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZC) flagged that only a fraction of local radiologists are qualified to test workers for Black Lung disease.

CFMEU Mining and Energy District President Steve Smyth called for urgent and public clarification of the matter.

“In correspondence to its own members, RANZCR has made it clear that Australian radiologists are not all qualified to identify Black Lung, nor does the college seem to know how many of their members would actually meet the rigorous requirements,” Mr Smyth said in a media statement.

“The RANZCR has said that a register of qualified radiologists would be available shortly and the union supports the establishment of such a register, but it must be a list of individuals qualified to the ILO standard.”

He said the Union will demand to be provided with evidence that all medical practitioners assigned to review x-rays are fully qualified to do so.

“In developing the register, the union wants to see documentation from RANZCR which confirms that the right level of training is provided to individuals on the list, and for the college to detail just what that training involves,” Mr Smyth continued.

“And we call on the Queensland Government to outline their plan for ensuring that all x-rays are assessed against the ILO standards by a qualified B-Reader and how they will provide these assurances to workers.”