Sunday, July 26, 2009


Nepean nurses fear chop for 155

Kate Benson, smh

July 26, 2009

NURSES at one of Sydney's busiest hospitals fear losing their jobs after being told more than 150 positions would be axed, while health workers in the state's north have been offered redundancy deals for the third time in six months, in a bid to clear debt of more than $130 million.

Nurses at Nepean Hospital were told 12 days ago that 155 positions would be lost, despite assurances that front-line staff would not be targeted.

"The nurses here are beside themselves. There is no fat on the bone," NSW Nurses Association branch secretary Peter Mason said yesterday.

"They are outraged and angered that management has refused to tell us where and when this will happen. I can't see where we could lose anyone without services being affected."

NSW Nurses Association general secretary Brett Holmes said it was not time to "get panicky" until it was clear which services would be affected. "But we have told them in no uncertain terms that if they don't consult with us there will be a war," Mr Holmes said.

In May, support staff at Nepean expressed no confidence in the area chief executive, Steven Boyages, over unfilled vacancies and management structures within the beleaguered Sydney West Area Health Service. They will stop work for two hours on Tuesday to protest at the privatisation of food services and a lack of staff.

On Friday, it was revealed that the North Coast Area Health Service was running more than $130 million in the red on last year's budget, including $19 million over budget at Lismore Hospital, $16 million at Coffs Harbour and more than $13 million at Port Macquarie.

All staff were sent emails asking them to consider taking redundancy to cut costs, but a statement by the area health service indicated the offers were aimed at administrative, corporate, support and management positions.


Red News Readers,

I wish Obama well in trying to achieve health care reform. Maybe he could organise mass showings of Michael Moore's Sicko to Republican Senators, Congressmen and supporters.

Jenny Haines

Obama renews push for health reform, blasts delay

July 26, 2009, Sun Herald.

US President Barack Obama has renewed his push for health reform, arguing he felt "a sense of urgency" in moving his proposal forward and blasting those advocating delay.

"Today, after a lot of hard work in Congress, we are closer than ever before to finally passing reform that will reduce costs, expand coverage, and provide more choices for our families and businesses," Obama said in his weekly radio address on Saturday.

"That is why I feel such a sense of urgency about moving this process forward."

Obama wants Congress to approve his health care reform proposals by the end of the year in order to fulfill one of his key campaign promises - providing health care to the 46 million Americans, some 15 per cent of the population, who currently do not have any medical coverage.

Obama's health care plan includes a government insurance option, which has been fiercely criticised by Republicans.

The US president also hopes to cut in half runaway healthcare expenditures which, if unchecked, are forecast to gobble up one-fifth of US gross domestic product by 2013.

But he has met increasing resistance from both Republicans and even some among his own Democratic Party worried about the costs of such a reform.

In a setback for the president, Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Thursday that lawmakers had given up on a vote before September.

In his address, Obama said that calls for a delay in passing the measure were being used by reform opponents as a tactic designed to stop the proposed changes.

"Some have even suggested that, regardless of its merits, health care reform should be stopped as a way to inflict political damage on my administration," the president said.

"I'll leave it to them to explain that to the American people," he continued. "What I'm concerned about is the damage that's being done right now to the health of our families, the success of our businesses, and the long-term fiscal stability of our government."


Monday, July 20, 2009


We have 38% fewer hospital beds than in 1981: it’s a scandal

by Professor Peter Collignon, Crikey 20.7.09

Governments of all persuasions have tried to limit health expenditure by cutting hospital bed numbers, in the mistaken belief that less beds mean more efficiency. The result — not enough hospital beds available for the needs of many very sick patients.

Around Australia, this lack of beds in the wards of public hospitals results in frequent Emergency Department “bed block”, ambulance “bypass” and postponed elective surgery.

In Australia we have 38% less beds than in 1981 when there were 6.4 acute care hospital beds for every 1000 people. There are now only four beds per 1000 people available. Only 2.7 of these beds are available in the public sector — where the sickest patients are looked after.

In the ACT the situation is worse. There were only 2.3 public hospital beds available per 1000 residents in 2006-07 and we need to take into account that around 25% of these public hospital beds are filled by NSW residents. This effectively means there are only about 1.7 public hospital beds are available per 1000 ACT residents. By far the lowest ratio in Australia.

It is likely that the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission report, whose release is expected shortly, will rightly put much emphasis on improving and strengthening primary care, but it is important that the need to improve hospitals’ capacity is not overlooked.

When there is a lack of beds, patients suffer. More complications and even deaths occur. Many are left in Emergency waiting rooms because too often there are no beds available to care for them. In those left at home, necessary surgery and medical therapy is delayed because there are no beds available to which they can be admitted. Some patients already admitted in smaller hospitals might require transfer to tertiary referral hospitals for more appropriate care but spend many days waiting for a bed to become available. This also means that their appropriate higher level care and therapy is delayed.

When you run a hospital at close to 100% occupancy, this makes hospitals less efficient — not more efficient. When full, there is no flexibility to move patients to the wards or areas that is most suitable for their care. They have to take a bed anywhere and then be moved (often multiple times) around the hospital until they arrive in the area of most appropriate care.

We need more acute care hospital beds. The number of beds we have available now too often fails to cope with the needs of those who are seriously ill and need to be in hospital.

We need adequate numbers of appropriately trained staff to look after the patients in additional beds. While we can’t produce large numbers of appropriately trained staff overnight, Governments should be able to look at what our needs are likely to be in the future and ensure we train and retain many more nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers. This can’t be done overnight but with appropriate planning and implementation it can start having an effect within a few years.

What number of beds should we have? No one can really be sure. But the number of available beds now is clearly not enough.

A 20% increase (to five beds per 1000 population) would seem to the minimum improvement necessary and the level we had in the 1980s (six beds) a preferable key performance indicator to strive for. When we no longer have “bed block”, ambulance “bypasses” and when those people triaged as “urgent” or higher can get rapid access to beds, then we know we have go the bed numbers correct.

It is time for all our political parties to give such a commitment. What is happening now in Canberra and around the country is intolerable and has to change. We need local and national targets for the number of adequately staffed acute care beds that should be available and then a concerted campaign over the next few years to make sure we get there.

Professor Peter Collignon is President, ACT Branch of the Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation.

Euan J Thomas

Posted Monday, 20 July 2009 at 1:15 pm Permalink

That will explain why i’m waiting and waiting and waiting for a hip operation. Mean while getting stoned off my little brain on all the so-called pain killers the doctors keep prescriping for me. Oh well at least I’m getting legally stoned!

Tony Stratford

Posted Monday, 20 July 2009 at 1:34 pm Permalink

There have been significant changes in medical practice over the last twenty years. For example, if you had your appendix out in 1980, you probably stayed in hospital for 4-5 days. Now, you will be out in 2. A cataract operation which was done in 1980 required at least an overnight stay - now it is usually a day procedure. This means that if we were to do the same work that was done in 1980, we would need fewer beds.The issues of “bed block” may also be related to staff shortages (rather than lack of physical beds), or to lack of particular kinds of beds (intensive care, coronary care).


Posted Monday, 20 July 2009 at 1:36 pm Permalink

Euan J Thomas -Is your operation classified as “elective”?I can’t understand how they’re allowed to get away with this.My brother-in-law required surgery for cancer several yrs ago, and it was classified as “elective”. It’s horrific that people have to wait so long, when being in chronic/acute pain is recognized as ruining people’s general health, including their immune system.

Of course, if there are more available beds around the country, are there the necessary doctor/nursing staff to care for them anyway? Cutting back on the number of people allowed to study medicine started before the Howard govt I believe, and Howard just made the problem worse. I heard last week that patient toilets were closed in a large hospital in NSW due to cleaning staff being off sick. Pity the poor patients who had to trudge up or down a floor to visit the loo or have a shower etc?I asked a stupid question, ‘why not employ more cleaners’?Silly me! There are people out of work aren’t there?

Would the hospital system be any better if the Rudd govt took over?I often wonder how much money is wasted in having duplicate administrative positions around the country. It would be interesting to know these costs! I’d probably be shocked, and I think I’m pretty well aware of the current position. It’s a miracle that there aren’t more deaths - maybe they just keep them quiet!
I also heard that a new hospital in NSW that has just opened has 2 less beds than the old one it replaced?I just wonder what idiots are in charge of making these decisions?

Shirley Leader

Posted Monday, 20 July 2009 at 1:43 pm Permalink

The reduction in ‘beds’ over the years has also led to the widespread implementation of mixed gender wards - a situation which represents an erosion by stealth of the dignity of patients, both male and female. No one wants to hear about it though - I think we’ve passed the point of no return on this one.

Jenny Haines

Posted Monday, 20 July 2009 at 2:42 pm Permalink

Having been involved in many campaigns opposing the closure of hospitals and hospital beds over the last 30 years, I have to say that Peter is right and he has health system administrator support for his views. I remember sitting at a table as a union representative a couple of years ago when a senior NSW Health administrator admitted that too many beds had been closed. I made him repeat what he had said a couple of times, while I luxuriated in being vindicated. It is true that there is far more day stay, outpatient, and hospital in the home work now, and that there are bed closures due to staffing shortages and the lack of availability of the appropriate skill mix, particularly in nursing. These staffing shortages are being addressed, with the current Federal Government far more committed to registered nurse education than the Howard Government who were rapidly moving towards the de-skilling of nursing no matter what the cost to the quality of care. But more needs to be done. Much more. And Peter’s objective of 5 beds per 1000 of populations seems to be a reasonable objective. I am presuming he means public hospital beds otherwise the ugly difficulty of accessibility based on health insurance status arises.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Cost cuts put staff in danger

Kirsty Needham Workplace Reporter

smh, July 17, 2009

EMPLOYERS who cut corners to cut costs are compromising workplace safety, WorkCover NSW has warned.

A bulletin issued to NSW businesses urges them to "keep the workload realistic" for staff, and says company restructures and cost cutting are causing anxiety and leading to more mistakes.

The warning coincides with the release of WorkCover data showing an increase in workplace injuries and occupational disease in NSW in 2007-08, reversing the trend of improved safety.

"People say safety is the first thing to go … it is a very real issue that needs to be considered upfront as businesses take action to save money by doing things a bit quickly," said John Watson, WorkCover NSW's general manager of occupational health and safety.

WorkCover has told employers that unsafe workplaces cost more in the long run if they lead to higher compensation payouts or falling morale.

Workplace fatalities in NSW fell in 2007-08, but the number of injuries, weeks lost due to injury and level of compensation payouts rose. Total injuries rose by 2339 (2 per cent) to 142,542.

Major workplace injuries, involving a week or more off work, rose by 3 per cent to 30,077.

An error-reduction specialist said more mistakes are made as companies shed staff.

"People taking on more work increases the cognitive load. People being stressed by financial pressures decreases cognitive capacity. So we have a double whammy effect," said Filomena Sousa, chief executive of Talsico International.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Red News Readers,

I note that several Sydney Hospitals have had to cancel elective surgery to cope with the swine flu. This pandemic will be a real test of the health system’s ability to cope with a crisis, like widespread flu, or a terrorist event, or whatever. I heard through the grapevine about 2 weeks ago that RPA and other hospitals were struggling because of the number of staff off sick with the flu, so I am not surprised that they have had to cut elective surgery. Their HR practices of getting rid of experienced staff because they were too expensive will be coming back to bite them at a time like this. I wonder how well the critical care units are coping with that many patients on Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation when they have so many young and inexperienced staff? And I wonder if that is why there has been a service reduction as well to allow for the inexperienced staff ?

Jenny Haines

Swine flu warning as deaths increase

Kate Benson and Andrew Clennell

smh, July 14, 2009

HEALTH experts fear the state's swine flu death toll could soar with six young, healthy people in Sydney fighting for their lives on last-resort cardiac bypass machines because their lungs are too damaged or diseased for regular mechanical ventilation.

The surge in the number of people with swine flu needing life-saving treatment has forced NSW Health to consider closing elective surgery at some big hospitals to allow staff to redirect resources.

What is your experience? How is your company being affected? Text 0424 SMS SMH (+61 424 767 764), email us with information and pictures or direct message us on Twitter @smh_news

Four people have now died in NSW since the pandemic hit on May 9, a woman, 61, being the latest victim. Her death on Saturday at Lismore Base Hospital was followed by two more suspected swine flu deaths, of men aged between 30 and 50, at Royal North Shore Hospital. Their deaths have been referred to the coroner.

Almost 350 people have been admitted to hospital with swine flu since the pandemic began. Fifty have been treated in intensive care, but doctors say the surge in patients needing cardiac bypass treatment is putting a huge strain on intensive care units and on staff and resources across the state.

All six of the victims on cardiac bypass are at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, where staff have been forced to borrow three machines to treat 10 patients in the past two weeks. The hospital usually treated about five patients a year using the machines, the head of intensive care services, Robert Herkes, said yesterday.

"This is not an ordinary winter. Swine flu is hitting young, otherwise healthy people … they start with a sore throat, develop shortness of breath and within 12 to 24 hours have rapidly developed respiratory failure and are being ventilated."

Dr Herkes said extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, was considered a last-resort treatment, but staff were "throwing everything" at the patients because they were young and relatively healthy.

Patients in respiratory distress are given anticoagulants by machine, and their blood is drained through tubing in their femoral or jugular veins. It is oxygenated outside the body, allowing the lungs to recover.

Three patients with swine flu had been taken off the treatment at Royal Prince Alfred in the past few days. One was "sitting up talking, on a ward", but two were still critical and were being mechanically ventilated, Dr Herkes said.

Brad Frankum, a general physician and immunologist at Campbelltown Hospital, said he had heard anecdotal reports that "more people than ever before" were being treated with ECMO this winter. "This is of great concern because it would suggest that the number of serious cases [of acute respiratory distress] are threatening the capacity of the system," he said.

The deputy director-general of NSW Health, Tim Smyth, said yesterday five big hospitals in Sydney had now been designated to treat swine flu victims with ECMO, up from two a fortnight ago. He said about a third of swine flu patients in intensive care were needing this treatment, but there was still capacity to deal with the pandemic.

He said the department had stockpiled 130 new standard ventilators two years ago as part of the state's disaster plan and would open more intensive care beds on high dependency units if the number of patients continued to surge.

But Peter Collignon, a professor in infectious diseases at the Australian National University, played down the use of the machines, saying "this happens every winter - it just doesn't get publicity".

A spokesman for the State Government said elective surgery could be cancelled at Royal North Shore, Royal Prince Alfred and St Vincent's hospitals, and patients due for surgery would be moved to less affected hospitals.

"There's no move at this stage to move to a different [status] in our pandemic plan," a spokesman for the Health Minister, John Della Bosca, said.

There are many hundreds of flu deaths every year, but a senior health source said swine flu was likely to hit harder as there was no vaccine and no immunity.


- 2029 people have tested positive in NSW.

- 346 have been admitted to hospital (255 in Sydney's west and south-west).

- Four have died, with two more deaths awaiting coroner's confirmation.

- Five major Sydney hospitals now treating victims with cardiac bypass machines.

- One-third of the population expected to get swine flu.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Red News Readers,

Ian Rintoul wins the prize for humanity. Meanwhile the BNP recommends sinking asylum seeker boats at sea (see below)

Jenny Haines

Mystery surrounds asylum seekers' boat

July 10, 2009

The fate of 74 Afghans is uncertain, write Tom Allard in Jakarta and Yuko Narushima.

IT WAS the curious incident of a boat in the night time, triggered by an asylum seeker's dying mobile phone and a concerned Australian supporter.

But confused messages between Australia and Indonesia leave mystery surrounding the fate of an estimated 74 people.

On Wednesday night, the Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, said on television that a boat of asylum seekers missing off Indonesia had been found after an alert from the federal police.

"Indonesian maritime agencies have located the boat. All on board - which I understand to be some 70 people - are, on our advice, safe," he said.

But in Indonesia yesterday authorities could not confirm the boat's existence, let alone evidence of a rescue of the Afghan passengers.

Authorities had mistakenly briefed officials that the passengers were safe, Mr Smith said in a clarifying statement last night. In the meantime, police dodged questions on why Australia was monitoring waters so far away. A federal police spokesman said the minister's comments had been speculative.

"As the incident has occurred in Indonesian waters, it is a matter for Indonesian authorities," he said.

According to Customs and Border Protection, Australian police were contacted by Indonesian authorities on learning the boat was in trouble. "Our role was only to offer assistance," a spokesman said.

As Australian agencies flicked responsibility for information on the boat from one area to another, a refugee advocate, Ian Rintoul, tried to end the confusion.

He said he tipped off Australian border protection agencies after receiving text messages from Pakistan on Wednesday morning. He contacted a passenger's mobile and learnt the boat was taking on water, he said. The last text from the boat read: "My mobile has no power now. I can't contact you any more. May God help us."

There was little doubt from the messages the boat was headed for Australia. Mr Rintoul said the second last message was explicit. "I need help from Aus. Police not indonesian police. W will die but w won't go with indo. Police. I humbly request aus. Govt to help us. Plz plz plz," it said.

Yesterday, Indonesian authorities said they had not yet found the boat or anyone who had seen it. Family members of those on board contacted Mr Rintoul yesterday, telling him they had made their way to an unnamed island in Indonesia.

"My contacts in Pakistan definitely got the information they were on an island but there was no information that they had been rescued," he said.

Lieutenant-Colonel Toni Sjaiful, spokesman for the Indonesian Navy's eastern fleet, said navy and police boats had been searching since Wednesday morning around the Komodo Islands and south off the coast of West Timor.

"We have found nothing. No dead bodies floating, for instance, or anything that may indicate their whereabouts," Colonel Sjaiful said.

Mr Rintoul said it was highly unlikely the missing boat was a hoax. "If it was a hoax, it was an amazingly elaborate one. When I rang the people on the boat, you could hear the water lapping in the background," he said.

He had not been in contact with those on board since they reportedly found landfall.


EU 'should sink immigrant boats'

Article from: Agence France-Presse

From correspondents in London

July 09, 2009 08:00am

THE leader of the far-right British National Party (BNP), recently elected to the European Parliament, says the European Union should sink boats carrying African immigrants trying to reach the continent.

Nick Griffin, one of two BNP members elected to the Brussels parliament in May, told the BBC that those on board would be thrown a life raft, but insisted only drastic action could stop Europe being "swamped by the Third World".

"The only measure, sooner or later, which is going to stop immigration and stop large numbers of sub-Saharan Africans dying on the way to get over here is to get very tough with those coming over," he said today. "Frankly, they need to sink several of those boats.

"Anyone coming up with measures like that (in the EU) we'll support, but anything which is there as a 'Oh, we need to do something about it' but in the end doing something about it means bringing them into Europe, we will oppose."

He denied advocating that anyone should be "murdered at sea", saying: "They can throw them a life raft and they can go back to Libya.

"But Europe has sooner or later to close its borders or it's simply going to be swamped by the Third World."

More than 67,000 people crossed the Mediterranean Sea to seek asylum in Europe in 2008, half of them arriving in Italy and Malta, according to figures released in January by the United Nations' refugee agency.

The BNP calls for an immediate halt to immigration to Britain, and the "voluntary resettlement" of those who are already here to their countries of ethnic origin.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

ANATOL KAGAN 1913-2009

Australia has lost one of the last survivors of Tsarist Russia who actually witnessed the Russian Revolution first hand. Anatol Kagan, 1913-2009. died in a nursing home last week a couple of days after admission.

Anatol was born in St Petersburg in 1913, of Jewish parents. He grew up in Tsarist Russia and witnessed the horrors of war, revolution, starvation, and deprivation. Speakers at his funeral today told of a young Anatol witnessing a horse drop dead outside his front door, then watching as starving people came out with their knives to cut the flesh off the horse to eat. The events of his early years turned Anatol into a lifelong sympathiser and campaigner for the underdog. His family left Russia on the Intellectuals Ship, a shipful of those who even in 1921, were irritating Stalin. They were not necessarily friends of Lenin and Trotsky, but Lenin, with a remarkable growing concern about the future, encouraged them to leave Russia. So they avoided what was coming, the mass extermination of intellectuals by Stalin.

Anatol’s parents set up a book and publishing business in Germany, publishing such writers as Nabakov and Trotsky. Anatol was fortunate to read the drafts of Trotsky’s “History of the Russian Revolution” which converted him to Trotsky’s view of these events. But the Nazis were on the rise, and Anatol became a member of the German Underground. His family left Germany and arrived in Australia in 1939. When asked why he came to Australia, he said that it was as far away from Europe as he could get.

Anatol became an active member of the Balmain Trotskyists, led by Nick Origlass and Izzy Wyner. He had trained as an architect in Germany. In Australia he obtained work in the Government Architect’s Office in NSW, later setting up his own firm of Anatol Kagan and Associates in Melbourne. He met and married his current wife in 1949 . They had a long, happy and successful marriage, with children of their marriage, and Anatole’s earlier marriages, up until his death.

In 1957, Anatol submitted an entry to the competition for the design of the Sydney Opera House. History records that Joern Utzon won that competition. Anatol had his own views about Utzon’s design and Utzon the man, but in true comradeliness, when Utzon was sacked by the NSW Government, Anatol was the first to lead a walkout from the Government Architect’s Office. His designs were overlooked for many years, until 2007, when there was an exhibition to remember the 50th Anniversary of the Competition, and Anatol was contacted and asked to send his drawings in for exhibition. He and his wife Dawn extracted the plans from under their mattress where they had been placed to save space in their smallish Mosman flat, and sent them in for showing.

Anatol was a lifelong member of the Australian Labor Party. He took the view that he didn’t agree with the leadership of the party on many things, but it was better to stay in the only mass working class party in Australia, and fight the bastards, than leave. He joined the Balwyn Branch in 1946 and since then has been a member of the Box Hill/Taronga Branch, the Prahan Branch in Victoria and the Mosman, Ben Boyd, Hornsby and Harbord Branches in NSW. He was awarded Life Membership of the Australian Labor Party in 1994. At his funeral today messages were received from Mark Arbib on behalf of the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, all thanking Anatole for his contribution to the party. The tribute from Bob Hawke read:

As the longest serving Australian Labor Prime Minister, I pay tribute to Anatol Kagan for his devotion and dedication to our great Party. A member of the Party for the last sixty three years, of which the last fifteen have been as a Life Member, Anatol will be remembered as someone who was totally committed to his ideas and ideals for a peaceful, free and just world. Through this philosophy, he lived a rich and rewarding life, fulfilled in the hope and knowledge that his efforts were directed to fairness and equality of opportunity for all. I thank him for his efforts and send my condolences to his family. Vale a True Believer. (Signed RJL Hawke AC).

I knew Anatol in passing through friends, but I feel honoured to have been able to attend the funeral of this most interesting man. It may seem like a hackneyed phrase, but they don’t make them like Anatole any more. Farewell Anatole and thank you for your contribution to life,

(Thank you to Damien Stapleton for sending a copy of his speech to the Funeral Today which included the tribute from Bob Hawke).

Jenny Haines

Sunday, July 05, 2009


Red News Readers,

Don't hold your breath waiting for the HSU to run an anti contracting out campaign. They have had 5 -8 years to run this campaign and where is it?

Jenny Haines

Hundreds of health jobs to go

Louise Hall Health Reporter,Sun Herald.

July 5, 2009

THE cash-strapped Sydney West Area Health Service has issued a call to all staff to apply for voluntary redundancy, saying the move will "streamline services" for patients.

The Health Services Union is urging hospital officials to reverse the decision to cut jobs and end the freeze on filling vacant positions.

"To cut more staff from the already strained health system will have a devastating impact," union secretary Michael Williamson said.

"You cannot expect measures like these not to have a direct effect on patient care."

The union believes the area health service - which runs Westmead and Nepean hospitals, and smaller hospitals from Auburn to Lithgow - has said 600 full-time-equivalent positions must go to meet this financial year's budget.

In May The Sydney Morning Herald revealed the hospitals frequently ran out of medical supplies because they owed suppliers millions of dollars in unpaid bills.
PricewaterhouseCoopers was appointed to "provide financial management support", in a sign that administrators were struggling to control their budgets.

Last week a spokeswoman for the area health service said front-line clinical and support positions would not be affected, and no one had been or would be sacked.

A very small proportion of the 20,000 SWAHS staff would be eligible for redundancy, she said.

"SWAHS has a responsibility to ensure that public funds are used effectively to provide care for the greatest number of patients," she said.

"The voluntary redundancies will have the potential of unlocking health-care dollars to increase patient treatment services."

At the Health Services Union annual convention last week delegates voted to campaign for adequate staff at all NSW public health facilities.

The union, which represents ambulance officers, clerical staff and radiographers, also opposes contracting out food production, linen services, cleaning, security and pathology.

Friday, July 03, 2009


Dubbo prison officers to walk off the job

02 July 2009 Content provided to you by AAP.

SYDNEY, July 2 AAP - Prison officers at Wellington prison near Dubbo will walk off the job on Thursday to protest against the NSW government's plans to privatise Parklea prison.

Officers at a rally outside Wellington prison from 11.30am (AEST) will call on NSW MPs to oppose the privatisation of the state's jails.Parklea officers say their jobs are at risk from moves to privatise the western Sydney prison's management and operation.

The NSW Public Service Association (PSA) spokesman Matt Bindley said more prisons could be sold off if private operators enter the market.

"At today's rally we want to send a clear message to the government that prison officers and local communities all over NSW will be affected by the decision to privatise Parklea," Mr Bindley said in a statement.

"We had a win recently with the plans to privatise Cessnock Correctional Centre being overturned, however we are not going to stop here and want to ensure no more NSW prisons are privatised."

© 2009 AAP Disclaimer