Secret memo on health job cuts

North Coast Area Health Service CEO, Chris Crawford.
North Coast Area Health Service CEO, Chris Crawford. Tweed Daily News

THE North Coast Area Health Service will push ahead with a third wave of staff cuts across the region.

In a memo leaked to The Northern Star, area health service chief executive Chris Crawford has asked senior managers to come up with a third list of positions for 'deletion'.

“While I realise that obvious changes have been made, please apply lateral thinking about how your network workflows could be reorganised to identify more positions that can be deleted,” he wrote in the secret memo.

He said the shortfall in the previous round, which saw 100 positions immediately axed, must also be met.

The shortfall occurred because the NSW Nurses' Association lodged a dispute with the industrial tribunal arguing that a number of the positions earmarked cannot be cut without affecting services.

It is particularly concerned about the axing of five positions in Lismore, including the surgical co-ordinator, and renal, oncology and maternity staff.

The union is also challenging the reduction of staff hours at Ballina Hospital.

The tribunal will hear the case on Monday.

Mr Crawford also asked his senior managers whether it was necessary to replace staff on sick leave.

Nurses' Association organiser for the North Coast, Joanne KcKeogh, reacted angrily when told of the memo.

“It is clear North Coast Area Health doesn't care about the real clinical impact,” she said.

“This is about money, about budgets. They don't care about how it is done, as long as it is done.”

Mr Crawford last night confirmed more positions would be axed.

“Targets not reached in the first and second rounds will need to be considered in the third round,” he said, adding that specific numbers had yet to be determined.

He said part-time management and co-ordination positions would be targeted in the latest round.

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