8 Feb 2010

'Govt pressure' forcing health board's hand

6:58 pm on 8 February 2010

A doctors' union says government pressure on Wellington's health board is forcing it to consider cutting 18 management jobs.

A Capital and Coast District District Health Board spokesperson says 18 jobs might be permanently eliminated and another 32 remade into new positions. Most of the jobs involved are administrative, but some are held by doctors and nurses.

The board says the proposal could save about $2 million a year.

Ian Powell, executive director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, which represents senior doctors, is blaming the plan on government pressure put on the board over the $47m deficit it faces this financial year.

But Health Minister Tony Ryall says the Government has given the board an extra $32.7 million this financial year and it needs to start living within its means.

The board is consulting staff about the proposal, and the spokesperson says it will do everything it can to retain displaced staff as hospital clinicians.

Nurses Organisation spokesperson Glenda Alexander says the cuts could actually end up costing more.