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ODHB Guts Dunedin Public Health Nursing Service

PSA Press Release
February 26, 2004

ODHB Guts Public Health Nursing Service For Dunedin

Health bosses have told public health nurses (PHN's) today that three of them had to go as a result of a controversial restructure of ODHB's public health arm - Public Health South (PHS). The three positions lost include the manager and two public health nurses leaving only six to cover Dunedin, PSA organiser Mark Ryan said today.

"Our members are gutted at the loss of jobs. The new structure for PHS is of dubious clinical value and leaves the remaining six PHN's covering an area that stretches north to Waikouiti, inland to the Strath Taieri and South to Waihola - more than 50% of Otago's entire population. The impact on schools will be quite damaging with potential risks to children rising dramatically. We understand that school principals have made their concerns known to ODHB CE, Mr Brian Rousseau.

"Throughout the consultation process members were firm in their opposition to the proposed changes that were being driven by PHS manager, Mr Peter Bassett, but the professional views of the PHN's have been ignored based on today’s decision.

“Questions are now being raised about the ability of ODHB to deliver on the immunisation program planned for 2005 - the biggest in NZ with three shots per child planned. It is estimated that 30 nurses alone will be required for that work.

"We also understand that the budget areas cut as part of the restructure focussed only on ODHB money - it appears that the Ministry of Health funding parts of PHS were ring fenced. Members believe that this was due to Ministry opposition to the restructure."

"As a consequence members have lost confidence in management."

Mark Ryan said that officials were seeking a meeting with ODHB to discuss these concerns. They will also be looking to meet with Dunedin North MP and cabinet minister Pete Hodgson to discuss with him members’ concerns.

ENDS

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