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Waikato DHB Responds To PSA Concerns Over Staffing

Media Release

Date: 22 November 2012

Waikato Dhb Responds To PSA Concerns Over Staffing

Earlier today the PSA issued a statement saying staff cuts could lead to rehabilitation delays for elderly Waikato patients. Please attribute this response to Barbara Garbutt, group manager Older Persons and Rehabilitation, Waikato District Health Board.

Waikato DHB is currently investing $40 million in a new building for Older Persons and Rehabilitation, which will open in May next year.

The key driver for the new building is to improve models of care delivered to patients, and facilitate increased operational efficiencies. We need these improved measures to meet the increased demands to care for an ageing population and to ensure the patient is the focus of care delivery models.

It is about a better model of care, which combines nursing and allied health in a team approach spread across a longer day, rather than a predominant nursing focus with limited allied health input. This gives the patients more access to key rehabilitation support, which will enhance their recovery. The proposed changes will increase access to rehabilitation services by allied staff for patients through the extension of the allied health clinical day from the current eight hours to 11 hours per day.

Waikato DHB director of nursing and midwifery Sue Hayward and Matthew Parsons the Professor of Gerontology at Auckland University assessed the proposed staff requirements and found them consistent with the guidelines issues by the Royal College of Nursing (UK).

It is unfortunate that Warwick Jones of the PSA did not discuss his concerns directly with Waikato DHB.

We may have been able to rectify the misguided and incorrect comments contained in his release. Waikato DHB rejects the notion that the proposal under consideration will either delay patient care or restrict access. Submissions received from staff to date do not support those concerns.

It is easy to focus on the financial situation (as per the PSA release), however our focus is on improved services across a longer period of time to improve outcomes for our patients. We acknowledge that this proposal will require staff to work differently which always poses challenges, but our focus remains on improved access to appropriate services

Questions and answers:

1. How many nursing staff (FTE and/or people) the Board is proposing to reduce the Older Persons Rehab Service by. 6 RN FTE through vacancy and attrition

2. And how many allied health staff? 1.2 FTE through vacancy

3. Why are the cuts being made? not cuts but a focus on model of patient centred service delivery

4. Will other staff be replacing the cut nurses/allied health staff i.e. HCAs ? No

About Waikato District Health Board and Health Waikato:

Waikato DHB is responsible for planning, funding and providing quality health and disability support services for the 372,865 people living in the Waikato DHB region. It has an annual turnover of $1.2 billion and employs more than 6000 people.

Health Waikato is the DHB’s main provider of hospital and health services with an annual budget of more than $701 million and 5238 staff. It has six groups across five hospital sites, three primary birthing units, two continuing care facilities and 20 community bases offering a comprehensive range of primary, secondary and tertiary health services.

A wide range of independent providers deliver other Waikato DHB-funded health services - including primary health, pharmacies and community laboratories.


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