Rally against Healthcare NZ job losses

Protesters, including some Public Service Association members, hold placards in Hillside Rd,...
Protesters, including some Public Service Association members, hold placards in Hillside Rd, Dunedin. They are protesting against proposed healthcare job losses. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
More than 60 Dunedin Public Service Association members and supporters yesterday protested against job losses arising from a proposed restructure by one of the country’s biggest healthcare providers.

Grey Power Otago president Jo Millar spoke at the rally, outside HealthCare NZ premises in Hillside Rd, and believed Grey Power would be raising the potential loss of up to 200 jobs throughout the country as a national issue.

"We’re not prepared to let it go," Mrs Millar said.

She had sent emails outlining her concerns to HealthCare NZ chief executive Vanessa Dudley last week but had not received any reply.

The company proposes to disestablish some home support co-ordinator posts and other jobs around the country, and to staff a call centre in Auckland.

In an earlier statement, Ms Dudley said the company had a structure that was overly complex and limited increases from funding agencies meant efficiency improvements were essential to achieve sustainability.

A HealthCare NZ media officer said the number of Dunedin jobs that could be lost could not be given yesterday, because the changes were only a proposal at this stage.

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

Healthcare NZ provides home care and support to vulnerable people for several DHBs.

Mrs Millar said Grey Power members in the SDHB area were concerned local support co-ordinators would be replaced by a call centre in Auckland.

The restructuring was on the agenda of the Grey Power Federation’s next national board meeting in Christchurch next Tuesday, and, as an Otago-Southland representative, she would report on the Dunedin and Otago situation.

Yesterday’s PSA protest was the third in the South over the issue, after earlier protests in Oamaru and Gore.

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