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Rather than nurses losing their jobs at Wakari Hospital's specialist rehabilitation service (Isis), their workforce will be strengthened, New Zealand Nurses Organisation Dunedin organiser Lorraine Lobb says.
Southern District Health Board is in the process of downgrading the rehabilitation ward from 26 to 16 beds because of less revenue from funders such as the Ministry of Health.
Under a proposal presented to staff this week, registered and enrolled nurses would slightly increase (0.64 full-time equivalent and 0.48 full-time equivalent respectively), while 2.1 full-time equivalent health care assistants would lose their jobs.
Redeployment was likely for the "very skilled" health care assistants, she said.
"It would be a great loss for the DHB not to have them somewhere else in the DHB."
Because restructuring had been in train nearly a year, the ward stopped recruiting nurses, Ms Lobb said.
The DHB had carefully considered the "ideal skill mix" for a 16-bed unit, which resulted in the slight increase in nursing numbers.
Staff submissions on the proposal close on May 11.