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Board Declines To Meet Brackenridge Staff

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Board Declines To Meet Brackenridge Staff

“NUPE and NZNO union members at Brackenridge Estate are losing confidence in their management over dealing with hard to manage Intellectually Disabled (ID) residents because their wish to meet the Board today has been declined,” said Janice Gemmell, Senior Organiser with NUPE.

Brackenridge Estate (formerly Templeton Hospital) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the CDHB. The Brackenridge Board meets today (Wednesday 21 October) but the Rev David Morrell, the Board Chair, has not allowed staff to directly address the full Board. “David’s offer of a five minute slot with a subcommittee of two left the unions feeling he is not taking the issues seriously.”

“The issues arose at recent staff meetings that 78 staff attended where incidents were discussed, the lack of support by management was condemned and the meeting with the Board sought,” said Janice Gemmell.

“Staff at Brackenridge Estate work with severely intellectually disabled residents. They are primary care givers for very vulnerable, dependant and at times violent residents,” said Janice Gemmell. “The sector relies heavily on the goodwill of incredibly committed staff – this goodwill is running out as the management fail to support staff when they are forced to deal with difficult situations.”

“Brackenridge staff are advising of:
• the heightened need for police assistance to deal with difficult and violent residents both at Brackenridge Estate and in the Houses run by Brackenridge in the community;
• feeling increasingly vulnerable and concerned for their own safety and the safety of other residents;
• a lack of support from management when difficult situations arise including not responding or supporting when alarms are activated;
• being isolated to deal with difficult situations in the Community; for example, a big person throwing a tantrum and dropping to the ground in the community proving difficult for a staff member to deal with particularly when they are responsible for two or three others.”

“The unions remain available to meet with the full Board and are hopeful of a change of stance in the light of the escalating situation,” said Janice Gemmell.

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