Petition to `fix' hospital proposal

Oamaru Hospital. Photo: ODT files
Oamaru Hospital. Photo: ODT files
An Oamaru group has launched an online petition asking Waitaki District Health Services to "fix the flaws" in its controversial proposal that may result in staffing and layout changes at Oamaru Hospital.

In February, the Otago Daily Times obtained a copy of a confidential "proposal for change" document distributed to staff that included a proposed staffing restructuring and the reconfiguration of the hospital's layout.

On Wednesday the Waitaki Community Hospital Action Group started an online petition on its Facebook page - Halt the Oamaru Hospital Proposal.

"One of Oamaru's best features is its incredible community support. And the petition below is absolutely worth supporting - take time to sign it now," a post that accompanied the petition said.

"Here at WCHAG, we're backing the staff at Oamaru Hospital, we're getting behind future-proofing services and we're focused on supporting positive changes to infrastructure.

"We're on the receiving end of stories from the nursing, Allied Health and support staff that are pretty tough to hear and we want them to know we hear your frustrations. We understand how important it is to you to extend the consultation period on this proposal. We want to fix the flaws."

Waitaki Community Hospital Action Group chairwoman Dr Janice Clayton said there were several reasons for the petition.

"I am doing this because I want to see a thriving health service in Oamaru that is well equipped and staffed appropriately so, that it is sustainable in the future.

"My time in the hospital in leadership positions showed me we are far from that and have been chronically underfunded. I am determined to see that change in a positive direction."

The group describes itself as an "outcomes-focused independent action group" made up of 20 members, some with former ties to the hospital and other health services.

Dr Clayton, who worked at the hospital for about two years as nursing manager, said the group was formed to address concerns expressed by the public that the Waitaki District Council-controlled company that owns and operates the hospital was not using appropriate processes and procedures to support staff.

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