PUBLIC HOSPITALS AT BREAKING POINT – RTI INVESTIGATION REVEALS ALL


NEWMAN Government job cuts are having increasingly dangerous impacts on Queensland’s public hospitals and health services.

Queensland Nurses’ Union (QNU) Secretary Beth Mohle said the final compilation of a Right to Information (RTI) investigation would today reveal the extent of State Government health cuts – with close to 5000 hospital and health services jobs cut state-wide.

Ms Mohle said the cuts included more than 1700 nurse and midwife positions and far exceeded those forecast by Treasurer Tim Nicholls in the 2012-13 budget which was released two years ago today.

The job cut figures obtained under RTI are almost 2000 higher than those voluntarily released by the State Government. They include nurse positions in Emergency Departments, Intensive Care Units, Oncology, a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for premature babies, Indigenous Health, surgery, transplant services and many other areas. Midwife jobs have also been cut in most regions.

The information obtained from the State Government reveals more than 700 nurse and midwifery jobs have been cut in the Metro North or greater Brisbane region alone. (Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH), Prince Charles, Redcliffe, Caboolture and Kilcoy).

Close to 300 nurse and midwifery positions have also been axed in the Metro South region, more than 150 in the Townsville region and more than 120 in the Wide Bay region. The overall health job cuts for each region, including health professionals and administrative staff, were higher again. A full list of hospitals within these regions, a regional breakdown of job cuts and examples of the types of jobs cut are attached and available at http://www.qnu.org.au/public-hospitals-at-breaking-point

In addition, the QNU recently polled hospital and health service staff to highlight the human toll of job cuts. The results are alarming and will be released in coming weeks.

“The second anniversary of the LNP’s maiden budget is no cause for celebration, with almost 5000 public hospital and health services jobs axed under the Newman administration,’’ Ms Mohle said.

“A recent survey of nurses and midwives revealed our hospitals and health services are stretched to breaking and staff morale is at an all-time low.

“Our members are working unpaid overtime, not taking holidays or sick leave and routinely doing double shifts in order to take up the slack and protect their patients. I’m sad to say they are burning out.

“We are very concerned patients and staff are at risk as a result of these massive health cuts.

“In addition to cutting jobs, the authority of senior nurses to ensure patient safety has been greatly diminished through significant organisational restructuring at a Hospital and Health Service (HHS) level.

“This means that in many instances, non-nurses are overriding the decisions of nursing management on staffing and therefor patient safety and quality.’’

 

Ms Mohle said a number of Executive Directors of Nursing had recently resigned and not been permanently replaced. She said the union was concerned pressures on the existing system, and the diminished authority of these roles under the Newman administration, had made it near impossible to attract good candidates for the vital roles.

Important clinical staff such as administrative assistants have also been cut forcing nurses and midwives to perform several roles and spend less time with patients. Ms Mohle said the importance of clinical staff in hospitals and health services was often overlooked.

TB

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