Breast-screening jobs may go north

Julie Morton
Julie Morton
A handful of jobs are set to transfer from Dunedin to Christchurch as a result of new management of the South's breast-screening programme, Pacific Radiology Group has confirmed.

Pacific Radiology Group is in the process of taking over the screening programme from the Southern District Health Board.

Chief executive Dr Lance Lawler, of Wellington, said it was expected 3.7 full-time equivalent administration jobs would shift from Dunedin to Christchurch.

The interview process was under way, and staff would find out by June 13 if they had been successful. Having gained the Southern contract, PRG will provide screening for the whole South Island.

The programme employs about 25 full-time equivalent staff in the South.

The company is also taking over a related service, diagnostic breast-care.

However, its administrative staff would stay employed by the health board. Public Service Association southern region organiser Julie Morton criticised a lack of disclosure from the health board about how many staff members' jobs would stay in-house to provide that service.

The process was a ''shambles'', and staff were very upset. She believed the board was holding off to see how many of the staff got jobs with PRG in the screening component, which would reduce the number of redundancy packages.

It was an ''appalling'', and ''immoral'' way for the board to treat staff, although she acknowledged it was not unlawful.

''It's done with the pure intention of avoiding having to pay severance,'' Mrs Morton said.

Health board patient services director Lexie O'Shea defended the board's stalling.

''Until PRG has completed its recruitment process for breast-screening, the DHB will not know how many staff it needs to redeploy.''

-eileen.goodwin@odt.co.nz

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