Red News Readers,
This is an odd story. At a time when the Rudd Government is injecting billion dollars into the health system, why are so many staff being reduced in one go? Is none of the Rudd money to reach the North Coast?
Up to 400 jobs to be slashed across NSW hospitals
By Kate Sikora and Simon Benson, Daily Telegraph
November 22, 2008 12:00am
UP to 400 full-time jobs will be slashed across the state's North Coast hospitals as a result of the Government's budget cuts.
The Daily Telegraph understands staff have been informed the cuts will be widespread and may affect nurses, cleaners and management.
The Nurses Association has confirmed it has been told of the move by North Coast Area Health Service's chief executive officer Chris Crawford.
It is the first health service to announce cutbacks following the State Government's mini-Budget.
Health administrators have been ordered to shed $200 million in the next four years.
Susan Pearce, the association's acting assistant general secretary, said any job losses would affect patient safety.
"We were informed earlier this week that 400 FTE (full-time equivalent) positions are to go in the NCAHS and that was stated publicly by the CEO," she said.
"Subsequent to that time, we have been informed that nurses will be affected but at this stage, we don't know how many or where. The critical issue is patient safety."
NSW has a nursing shortage with up to 1100 vacancies. The Government plans to reduce the reliance of overtime and casual nursing staff.
Opposition health spokeswoman Jillian Skinner accused the Government of lying that its budget cuts would not affect frontline staffing.
"These 400 job losses will have a terrible impact in already stretched health services," she said.
"These job losses are a direct result of the $64 million worth of spending cuts this year announced in the mini-Budget."
"NCAHS, like other area health services, is reviewing all expenditure to analyse where economies may be made. There will be no forced redundancies," the health service said last night.
"It is too early to speculate about whether voluntary redundancies may be offered to staff, or the number of offers that might be made should this occur."
In good news for the state's south, the Government has reversed a decision to close a trout hatchery in Jindabyne.
The move came yesterday after fierce lobbying from the MP for Monaro Steve Whan.
"There was overwhelming community backlash on this," said a spokesperson for Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald.