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Jobs to go at Hawke’s Bay DHB

Media Release:

Jobs to go at Hawke’s Bay DHB

There is a real threat to patient and staff safety at Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, in light of proposed job cuts announced yesterday (February 17), according to NZNO organiser for the DHB Stephanie Thomas.

In a memo to leaders in the DHB’s older persons, mental health and allied health services, service manager Allison Stevenson announced cuts of 35 staff across all disciplines, a “sinking lid” on all recruitment and no new positions could be created, unless the position comes with new funding.

Thomas said staff were “angry and stressed” at the proposed cuts. “They are very concerned about what these proposals will mean for patient safety and for their own ability to provide safe care,” she said.

Thomas asked how the proposed job cuts and the squeeze on recruitment would provide better, sooner, more convenient health care, as promised by the government. “What these proposals will mean is worse care, delayed care, and in some cases, no care at all. This is what nursing job losses really mean. ” She also referred to international evidence which proved that fewer nurses on wards meant an increase in patient morbidity and mortality.

Responding to the news of the cuts at Hawke’s Bay DHB and the loss of nursing positions at Bay of Plenty District Health Board, NZNO chief executive Geoff Annals said they made a mockery of the Health Minister Tony Ryall’s mantra that no frontline jobs would go.
“We are hearing of nursing job cuts around the country, in both hospitals and the community. Frontline nursing jobs are going, as the government puts the pressure on DHBs to meet budget targets. What this will mean is greater health costs down the track, as people did not get the care they needed, when they needed it,” Annals said.

He called on Health Workforce New Zealand (HWNZ) to “step up and denounce the cuts. It is the agency charged with developing the health workforce. When that health workforce is under threat, HWNZ needs to oppose any job cuts. Nurses are the largest workforce in health and any reduction in nursing numbers will inevitably compromise patient care.”


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