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Job losses coming to Adelaide's major hospitals

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The State Government has begun offering redundancy packages to staff at Adelaide’s central hospitals in what the Opposition describes as a “wave of job cuts” for doctors and nurses.

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SA Health this morning announced that staff within the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and the Central Adelaide Local Health Network – which runs the Royal Adelaide Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital – would be made eligible for voluntary separation packages.

CALHN CEO Lesley Dwyer said a recent staff survey revealed many employees wanted to leave – and emphasised that her agency had to live “within its means”.

“A recent public sector survey indicated that a large number of our employees were interested in leaving the workplace,” she said in a statement, adding that the voluntary separation packages would offer staff time to consider their options without being locked into an immediate decision.

“Over the past few months we have been redesigning the way we work to ensure service delivery continues to put patients at the centre of everything we do, and so that we can become more efficient in the way we do things.

“We need to operate within our means, and to bring CALHN back to a size and a shape that will allow us to realise the ambition that we have for the future.

“This process is not about targeting individual staff; rather offering VSPs gives us the opportunity to realign our resources.”

The Government appointed administrators KordaMentha last year in an effort to reform CALHN’s parlous finances.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference this morning, Dwyer declined to specify how many jobs CALHN believed it would need to cut in order to run most efficiently.

But she said that since KordaMentha was appointed, CALHN had seen a decrease in the need for “escalation beds”.

Labor health spokesperson Chris Picton said the redundancies broke a Liberal Party election promise not to cut doctors’ and nurses’ jobs and that it would make ambulance ramping outside of emergency departments worse.

“We’re seeing the results of the Marshall Liberal Government’s cuts, with ramping worse than ever and our hospital emergency departments consistently overcrowded,” he said in a statement.

“These job cuts will make our hospitals worse, not better.

“This is what happens when you have a government that puts profit before people.”

Women’s and Children’s Health Network CEO Lindsey Gough said offering voluntary separation packages was, in part, a response to interest from staff.

“Some staff have asked about the possibility of VSPs and the Department of Treasury and Finance have afforded us an opportunity to offer these at this in time,” Gough said.

“We are eager to hear from interested staff through the expressions of interest, and will work collaboratively with our clinical leaders to ensure our patient outcomes remain the priority.

“This approach will help us continue to improve the health and wellbeing of the families and communities we serve, while ensuring our services are financially sustainable.”

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