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CDHB Support Staff To Protest Cuts

Wednesday 24 November 2004

CDHB Support Staff To Protest Cuts

“Maintenance and technical staff, Clinical Records staff, Telephonists and other support staff at the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) are warning of patient risk and protests as major jobs cuts are undertaken to cover the Board’s deficit, caused by Government under funding,” said Janice Gemmell, Organiser of the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) today.

“Non clinical staff are facing cuts across the board,” said Janice Gemmell. “Half the clinical records positions at Christchurch Public have gone, and Princess Margaret medical records staff are under review. Most telephonists and up to 26 maintenance and technical staff face the axe as well.”

“The Board says the Reviews will lead to efficiencies. But these cuts in Hospital support services such as maintenance are in fact leading to major risks to patients,” said Janice Gemmell. “For example, cutting the staff who provide the oxygen to the neo-natal unit is surely asking for trouble. Expecting Ashburton Hospital patients to wait for an hour to get maintenance staff down from Christchurch also seems highly risky.”

“Maintenance staff know that Doctors and Nurses cannot operate in the dark. Support staff are now developing plans to combine their protests against the cuts and persuade the Board that they need to approach the Government to get more funds rather than risk patient safety,” said Janice Gemmell.

“Staff are aware that the CDHB has lost about $30m of funding from the introduction of Population Based Funding,” said Janice Gemmell. “More funds are also going to be needed to finance nurses’ pay rises. Support staff are not going to accept cuts to their jobs and risk to patients to pay for these.”

ENDS

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