Health workers protest job cuts

HEALTH workers rallied outside Orange Health Service yesterday to protest job cuts and a lack of consultation with staff, according to the Health Service Unions (HSU).

However Western NSW Local Health District  (LHD) chief executive Scott McLachlan rejected the  workers’ claims there had been a lack of consultation about proposed staff changes.

“The district has consulted with staff and HSU representatives about the proposed staffing changes,”he said.

Speech therapists, social workers, physiotherapists, community health workers, storemen, pharmacy and pathology workers walked off the job at 12.30pm protesting staff cuts they say will affect workers and patients, as well as volunteers, who they fear will be forced to pick up extra work.

They held placards asking member for Orange Andrew Gee and Premier Barry Farrell to stop the job cuts.

STRIKE OVER JOB CUTS AT HOSPITAL

“O’Farrell cuts, we bleed,” read one of the placards.

Mr McLachlan said there would be no impact on patient care.

“Priority is for non-clinical positions including corporate and administrative roles,” he said.

The LHD has embarked on a cost-cutting program after a $19 million blow out in last year’s budget.

The job cuts come  at the same time the LHD advertises for three managerial positions with weekly salaries of up to $2486 a week.

HSU Orange branch president Helen Goodlock said workers were waiting to hear from management about any proposed changes.

“There is so much uncertainty and so far no consultation,” she said.

“We are protesting because we want the public to see just how concerned we are, because ultimately any cuts will affect patient care,” she said.

Mr McLachlan said further talks are planned with the HSU.

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