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West Coast Nurse Receives Confidential Payout

On the same day Social Services Minister, Steve Maharey, is scathing of the out-of-court settlement made to a sacked staff member by WINZ, it has been revealed that Coast Health Care Ltd also made a substantial out-of-court cash settlement to a staff member in December who had claimed unjustified dismissal. John Howard reports.

Mr Maharey says that WINZ and other government agencies are on notice that Labour will not stand by and allow further public money to be squandered on those who fall foul of senior management.

"The new government is determined to restore a sense of moderation, accountability and integrity to the public service," he said

But on 23 December last, Coast Health Care Ltd on the West Coast, also made a substantial and confidential out-of-court cash settlement to a sacked enrolled nurse who had claimed unjustifiable dismissal.

The staff member had lodged a claim with Coast Health Care Ltd after being sacked on 8 November 1999. The matter was taken to mediation on 23 December by the PSA where the confidential settlement offer was made without the need to go to the Employment Tribunal or the public forum of the Employment Court.

At the time Coast Health Care Ltd made the cash settlement, other staff members close to the enrolled nurse said they were astounded with the lack of public accountability, transparency and oversight in the procedures leading up to the November sacking decision.

They were also asking how a large amount of public money was spent without scrutiny or accountability now it seems there was no merit or justification in management's original actions. They also question why the managers still have their jobs.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Annette King, has been asked to investigate the need for the confidential cash settlement and the accountability for it.

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