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Hundreds of SA Health employees put hands up to check out

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Nearly 600 SA Health employees – including 100 from the department’s city HQ – have applied for redundancy packages since the Government offered them, in a bid to slash public health system jobs.

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SA Health data shows that 377 staff members within the Central Adelaide Local Health Network – which covers the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital – have applied for redundancy payments.

The large quantity of applications means the process of reviewing the potential redundancies is expected to last until June.

In addition, InDaily can reveal, 100 members of staff within the SA Health bureaucracy, headquartered on Hindmarsh Square, have expressed their interest in redundancy packages.

And a further 109 expressions of interest have been received from staff within the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network.

That brings the number of disclosed redundancy applications to a total of 586.

So far, 80 of the applications made by staff within Central Adelaide have been accepted, meaning that those positions will be removed from the public health system altogether.

A total of 12 SA Health employees had left their post in Central Adelaide by the end of January.

An SA Health spokesperson said a small number of applications have rejected or were “out of scope” for the voluntary separation packages program.

The department yesterday extended the offer of voluntary separation packages to staff employed in the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, which covers an area stretching from Clarence Park to Aldinga, as well as those in the Barossa Hills Fleurieu Local Health Network.

A spokesperson for SA Health said the department did not yet have a breakdown of the types of employees – such as doctors, nurses, administrators and allied health professionals – that have applied for a package, and that there was no set budgetary target in relation to the separation packages program.

Speaking on FIVEAA Radio this morning, Health Minister Stephen Wade said no nurse or doctor would be “sacked” as part of the process.

“We’re not targeting anybody,” said Wade.

“These are voluntary separations where people express an interest.

“Each of the Local Health Networks decide whether voluntary separations are relevant to them, only half of the Networks have even said that they want to try.”

He said SA Health needed to change its workforce in order to meet new needs.

“A very tangible example: we’re rolling out at the Royal Adelaide Hospital the Sunrise Electronic Medical Record System, that means we don’t need a lot of typists that we previously did need,” said Wade.

He declined to specifically rule out accepting redundancy applications from doctors or nurses, but suggested some medical staff may need to move into a different area of healthcare rather than leave the SA Health workforce altogether.

“As healthcare changes, the Local Health Network might say, ‘we need a nurse in a different location’, for example … we’re employing nurses in the Priority Care Centres, Emergency Care Nurses who in the past might have been based in a hospital,” he said.

“Services continually evolve, we need to make sure the workforce evolves with it.”

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