Tagata Pasifika

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Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Redundancies won’t reduce ED wait times at Middlemore – National

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
National Party health spokesman Dr Shane Reti says the duplication of managerial and administrative roles at Te Whatu Ora should have been identified earlier. Photo: Chris Yardley/Stuff
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Local Democracy Reporting | Free Public Interest News Service

Hundreds of redundancies among backroom staff won’t reduce waiting times at Middlemore Hospital, National’s Dr Shane Reti says.

The health spokesman’s comments follow claims by former Te Whatu Ora chairman Rob Campbell that it plans to lay off large numbers of administrative and managerial staff.

Campbell was removed from his position this week by Health Minister Ayesha Verrall after he posted comments on social media criticising the National Party’s Three Waters policy.

He told Local Democracy Reporting that there had been widespread duplication of roles since the health reforms came into effect in July last year.

“There was always going to be some restructuring, but it has unfortunately taken some time to get to this place,” Campbell said. “But it’s now urgent to get these resources to those working on the frontline.

“There’s no reason to delay this. Te Whatu Ora has to get the resources out of the backroom and onto the front line. My frustration is it has taken this long to get to this point.”

But National Party health spokesman Dr Shane Reti said he was concerned the focus appears to be on restructuring and not frontline health care.

“I think Health Minister Ayesha Verrall needs to identify how many people will be laid off and where,” he said. “But I’m not hearing anything about outcomes here.

“How is this going to improve ED wait times at Middlemore Hospital, or reduce surgical waiting lists in Counties Manukau?”

Last month Te Whatu Ora identified Middlemore Hospital’s emergency department as one of eight “hotspots” needing extra support before winter flu season.

Reti questioned why the duplication of roles under the new entity weren’t identified earlier.

“Why wasn’t this seen as urgent when Te Whatu Ora came into effect on July 1 last year? Why has it taken this long?” he said.

“They are shifting the deck chairs while the ship is sinking.”

Figures released this week showed waiting lists for a first specialist appointment had jumped by 46% in Counties Manukau in the 12 months to December. Those waiting four months or more for non-acute elective surgery increased by 69% in the same period.

Te Whatu Ora (Counties Manukau) was approached for comment about how many jobs were at stake, when those affected will be notified and what roles will be affected.

In a written statement, Te Whatu Ora chief executive Margie Apa said: “Our proposals are not yet finalised and we do not have any further information to share publicly until we have started our discussions with our people.

“Over the course of 2023, we will be working to deliver on the promise of reforms by continuing to unify, simplify and integrate our team of teams for the benefit of whānau and communities.”

Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in a statement: “As the Minister of Health I expect that fair processes are undertaken by Te Whatu Ora, who have given me their assurances that they have a very rigorous plan for how they will work on this matter. Including work with the relevant unions.”

Local democracy reporting


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