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Nursing fears as SA health jobs to be axed

By Karen Keast | Last Updated: 20-11-2013

Health jobs will be culled in South Australia

Nursing jobs could be in the firing line in South Australia, after the State Government announced plans to axe almost 350 public health jobs and 114 beds.

Health Minister John Hill has revealed 197 hospital and health service positions will go and 52 health department jobs will be culled by 2015-2016, in a move designed to save $270 million over four years.

Another 100 jobs could be cut through enterprise bargaining negotiations mid-next year.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation SA branch secretary Elizabeth Dabars said the union holds concerns for nursing jobs and patient care.

“We do have concerns and we do have some reservations,” she said.

“The only EBA we are aware of that it would impact upon would be the nurses’ and midwives’ EBA.

“We know we are going to be entering into an EBA situation early next year.

“People are very concerned about what’s being proposed. I have spoken to nurses and midwives…and they have expressed serious concerns and they are nervous about the consequences for patients and patient care.”

Ms Dabars said the union is now waiting on SA Health to provide more detail about the proposed cost-saving measures.

The announcement comes after independent reports into the state’s local health networks recommended job cuts and bed closures in a bid to shave costs from the health budget.

Ms Dabars said the union’s response to the hospital budget performance and remediation review outlined a series of solutions designed to improve efficiencies.

The union’s submission includes recommendations such as opening nurse practitioner primary care clinics as well as two 16-bed pilot nursing convalescent units.

It also recommends a review of leadership arrangements for hospital sites and nursing midwifery practice out of hours in a bid to ensure sufficient numbers of senior staff are on hand, along with a change in the scope of nursing/midwifery management facilitator roles.

Ms Dabars said the submission also included the introduction of the nurse-led discharge program, which the government recently announced will be trialled at Flinders Medical Centre from early next year.

“That was part of our solutions package,” she said.

“Our view is you cannot pick one piece of a jigsaw puzzle and expect an outcome. You need to have all of the pieces to be operating effectively to get change.

“We want to understand how SA Health and the state government are proposing to achieve their efficiencies in the absence of introducing such strategies.”

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