Jobs cut, not services: Qld Health

QUEENSLAND Health yesterday denied that cutting a full-time nurse educator and two child health nurses from the Gympie Hospital would affect services to new mums and their babies, or the education of Gympie nurses.

The cuts, part of a Queensland Health directive to eliminate 110 jobs from the Sunshine Coast Gympie Health District, were revealed in a Queensland Nurses Union magazine.

Not surprisingly, the official response from Queensland Health was that cutting nurse numbers had not changed anything, and that, in fact, services had increased.

"One of the initiatives undertaken was a review of how nursing education was provided," Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service chief executive Kevin Hegarty said.

"The adoption of a health service-wide approach has enabled a reduction in full-time equivalent without changing the level of education provided."

In child health, 1.5 positions have been lost, with one full-time clinical nursing consultant and one part-time clinical nurse position cut.

"Gympie Community Health continues to operate the child health service five days a week, during the hours of 8.30am to 4pm," Mr Hegarty said.

"This service has in fact been expanded since December, 2012, with the introduction of a post-natal home contact service."

The QTU sees things differently.

"Regional areas lose more nursing from an area which is already minimally resourced. (Leading to) reduced capacity for post-natal and youth health issues," it said.

Mr Hegarty said Sunshine Coast and Gympie Hospital and Health Service was on target to meet its budget and FTE staffing targets.

"The hospital and health service was given a target in early September, 2012, to reduce its total staffing by 110 FTE," he said. "The health service has achieved this requirement though staff-led innovation and efficiency initiatives."

In Nambour, 16.5 full-time nursing positions have been cut from medical wards.

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