Grey Power board opposes HealthCare NZ restructuring proposal

The Grey Power New Zealand Federation Board yesterday came out against proposed restructuring by HealthCare NZ, one of the country’s biggest providers, which could cut up to 200 jobs.

The board’s meeting in Christchurch backed concerns and complaints raised by Grey Power’s Horowhenua Association and worries by the Public Service Association (PSA).

Grey Power federation treasurer Roy Reid, chairman of the Grey Power age care committee, said the federation would advise Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa and health authorities of its concerns.

The board also yesterday decided that if there were future complaints from members over any home care changes arising from the proposed cuts, the federation would raise them with the associate minister and the relevant district health board.

Last Friday, more than 60 Dunedin Public Service Association members and supporters protested at HealthCare NZ’s offices in Hillside Rd, against the company’s proposed job losses.

HealthCare NZ provides home care and support to vulnerable people for many DHBs.

PSA Dunedin organiser Jen Wilson has said the jobs of at least seven support co-ordinators in the city could be affected and some other administrative jobs could also be lost.

In an earlier statement, HealthCare NZ chief executive Vanessa Dudley said limited increases from funding agencies meant efficiency improvements were essential to achieve sustainability.

All client services would be retained, and the proposal "updates our administration and management systems to better support modern, effective and co-ordinated decision-making".

Asked about concerns involving Otago people receiving home care, including in rural areas, being disadvantaged, a HeathCare NZ media officer referred to previous management statements and declined to comment further.

Mrs Millar said yesterday that Grey Power had "grave concerns" about the proposed restructuring.

She had raised them again yesterday and would be meeting a senior Southern District Health Board manager in Dunedin on March 6, to discuss how health funding was being used in this case.

Mr Reid said the federation was concerned about the proposed cuts, which would harm the interests of vulnerable older people in Otago, some of them living in isolated rural areas.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

 

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