Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

{OPERATIONCUT BACK!} {Christmas Cut Backs Planned for Hospital}; as Many as 85 Jobs Now at Risk, Reports BELINDA SCOTT

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

{OPERATIONCUT BACK!} {Christmas Cut Backs Planned for Hospital}; as Many as 85 Jobs Now at Risk, Reports BELINDA SCOTT

Article excerpt

COFFS Harbour Hospital is expected to extend its emergency-only policy over the Christmas-New Year period until January 19 as part of cut backs to the North Coast Area Health Service.

The hospital will shut down all but one operating theatre for the festive season as staff await news of proposed job cuts.

Nursing and Health Services Union representatives are now waiting anxiously for more details on cuts announced at the weekend.

The North Coast Area Health Service says there will be no forced redundancies, but Coffs Harbour specialist anaesthetist Paul Moran says patients can expect more waiting for surgery and more difficulties getting treatment.

Earlier press reports said the North Coast Area Health Service, which includes Coffs Coast hospitals and community medical services, would cut 400 full-time jobs, including nurses, cleaners and managers.

Coffs Harbour Nationals MP Andrew Fraser said yesterday medical sources had put the planned job cuts in Coffs Harbour at 65 and nursing sources had suggested 85.

Sue White, the president of the Coffs Harbour Base Hospital branch of the NSW Nurses Association, and Marilyn Body, the Coffs Harbour Community Nurses representative on the NSWNA, were among the committee of delegates who attended a meeting with NSW Premier Nathan Rees last Tuesday.

Between them they represent 400 Coffs Harbour nurses in public health.

Ms White said the Premier had not mentioned numbers.

She said although Mr Rees had told them no front line jobs would be cut, there was confusion over the definition of 'front line' and nobody was clear about what positions would be affected.

She said there were many 'invisible' positions which supported nurses in delivering safe patient care.

"It is all about patients," Ms White said.

"We are seeking clarification from the North Coast Area Health Service.

"I don't see where they could find so many positions (to cut)."

Coffs Harbour Base Hospital nurses will meet at 3pm today to discuss the situation and will then meet the hospital's director of nursing. …

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