4 Mar 2023

Too early to talk job cuts at Te Whatu Ora - union

7:49 am on 4 March 2023
Rob Campbell

Rob Campbell. Photo: Pantograph Punch

Public Service Association (PSA) national secretary Kerry Davies said comments by ousted Te Whatu Ora chair Rob Campbell that there will be "hundreds" of redundancies is not helpful.

Campbell, who was recently sacked from his roles on the boards of Te Whatu Ora and the Environmental Protection Authority over posts on social media deemed not politically neutral, said on Friday people in Te Whatu Ora would "undoubtedly" lose their jobs soon.

"Dealing with a bureaucratic machine like health, it's been hard to get it moving anything like as quickly as it should be. And that was hard for me to speak out on when I was in the role. Now, I'm not in the role, I can be much more direct about it," he said.

He claimed there was extensive waste in the system, some of which had been brought over from the old district health boards (DHBs) and others resulting from job duplication.

"The system is desperately short of all sorts of resources and people at the front-line. So either people will be able to shift to more useful jobs that are not duplicated jobs, or some people undoubtedly will lose their jobs. And those resources will be applied in the front-line, where they're desperately needed."

The comments have not gone over well with the PSA, which represents - among others - staff working in the public health system.

"I know nothing about numbers, and I would think that it's much better to look at what system changes are needed before we go down that track," national secretary Kerry Davies said.

She said redundancies were inevitable, but there has been no communication about the number of job losses expected.

Davies said PSA members expect to be included in the next stage of the health reforms.

"That thing that we want to do is really focus that our members are actively engaged in designing and contributing to the changes in the system that need to be made."

"I know they feel a bit left out of the process," said Campbell. "And so if from the outside I can give it a bit of a ginger along, I think everyone, frankly, will welcome that."

Campbell was sacked as chair of the health agency earlier this week by the health minister, over concerns he could not be politically neutral.

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