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Oamaru Hospital Services Threatened

Oamaru Hospital Services Threatened

Looming strikes at Oamaru hospital by PSA members reflect the poor funding base of Waitaki Health Services Limited, PSA organiser Mark Ryan said today.

Allied health professionals and clerical staff will join nurses in strikes on October 20, 23, 28, 29 and 30 in pursuit of a reasonable pay increase after further mediation failed. Negotiations have been ongoing since late 2002 and the parties have been in mediation a number of times in an effort to reach agreement.

Mark Ryan said Oamaru hospital was unsustainable.

“It would appear that the original business case for the hospital when it was set up as a Waitaki District Council local authority trading company (LATE) failed to incorporate realistic pay increases when the deal was done with the National Government. As a consequence, in seeking to negotiate pay rates that are in step with the rest of the public health sector, the company ends up pleading poverty due to a lack of funding.”

“The reality is that the hospital cannot pay its way. One of two things will happen, either the company will be forced to close its doors, or, it will become a second rate hospital trying its best to service the health needs of the North Otago community. “

Mark Ryan said that PSA members remain committed to providing the community with quality health care but “it remains a question of how long they can keep it up”.

The PSA covers most of the allied health professionals and clerical staff at the hospital.

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