Wide Bay hospital jobs set to face the axe
A STORM is brewing across hospitals in the Wide Bay region as nurses say at least 15 jobs could be cut under proposed changes.
The alarm has been raised by the Queensland Nurses Union, which says the clinical governance structure is set to be altered and set back hospitals by 10 years.
Last night, Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service chief executive officer Adrian Pennington would not confirm or deny jobs would be lost, but said that there was a proposal which could alter roles and enable staff to "multi-skill".
He said that part of this was to develop a clinical audit department.
Queensland Nurses Union regional officer Vicki Smyth: "A lot of the (clinical governance) jobs, like the patient safety roles, were implemented and expanded as a direct result of the reviews that took place after the Patel dramas.
"Nurses are really concerned that this new model will reverse all the good work that has been done through the clinical governance unit."
She said up to 15 jobs would go.
"Thirteen equivalent staff which equates to 15 people at least whose jobs have been cut." She said.
Mr Pennington said the proposed changes were not about getting rid of the clinical governance unit but designing a new structure that improved the current system.
"The proposal looks at making the clinical governance team stream-based, not task-based,' he said.
"This is not being driven by the need to find savings or reduce staff numbers."
Mr Pennington said the new structure would allow for multi-skilled individuals to be trained in different fields within the hospital to ensure continuity.
"The volume of work won't be any different - it will just be more focused on a specialty," he said.
Ms Smyth disagreed.
"A lot of the work will be put back on the nursing staff in the wards," she said.
"So a greater workload means a greater risk of something getting missed because there is not that overarching specialist person watching what needs to be done."
Ms Smyth said further staff cuts were expected to be made in operational services including areas such as cleaners, orderlies and caterers.
Mr Pennington said: "We are reviewing all departments within the organization and looking to see whether we can work in other ways."
He said staff had been actively involved in the process and proposals signed off by department heads.
"As such, we feel any changes introduced will be supported by staff."
The news follows recent revelations of proposals to change Eidsvold Hospital operations, and to privatise the Home and Community Care (HACC) services.
ABOUT 15 jobs are set to be cut across hospitals in the Wide Bay region with potentially more to go.
Queensland Nurses Union regional organiser Vicki Smyth said the jobs to be cut were specialist roles including patient liaison and quality management roles which would have the adverse affect of putting more pressure back on nurses.
"Nurses are concerned this new model puts the health service back 10 years," she said.
More to come.