Health workers rally on job cuts
HEALTH workers at Lismore Base Hospital will hold a stop-work meeting and rally today at 2pm in protest against the proposed job cuts to the sector.
The action is part of a state-wide campaign organised by the Health Services Union which fears many of its members' jobs will be outsourced as the NSW Health Department attempts to slash its spending by $200 million, including $30 million from the North Coast.
Health Services Union North Coast lead organiser Bob Hull said if the union's fears are realised 'several thousand' people would loss their jobs across the State.
“It will also have a severe and detrimental effect on the quality of the health system and patient care,” he said.
North Coast Area Health chief executive, Chris Crawford, who was unavailable for comment yesterday, has previously confirmed that about 400 nursing and health sector jobs would be cut to meet the department's target to reduce expenditure.
He has repeatedly stressed that no front-line positions would be affected.
Mr Hull said his union's primary concern at the moment was the proposed closure of the Goonellabah store and axing of its 15 jobs.
The store supplies medical equipment to hospitals between the Tweed and Coffs Harbour.
“They are talking about sourcing supplies from Newcastle,” Mr Hull said.
“That will have a detrimental effect.
“It will leave the North Coast unable to respond to emergencies and natural disasters.
“At the moment if Lismore runs out of supplies the store is only a couple of minutes up the road.
“If the Goonellabah store is closed, supplies will be eight hours away.”
The union's assistant secretary, Peter Mylan, said there was “no justification” for contracting out health services jobs.
“What needs to be recognised is that all workers in public health contribute to the good running of the system,” he said.
“All workers are front- line and any distinction drawn between front-line and backroom is artificial at best and dangerous at worst.”