“Irresponsible and dangerous”: PSA outraged at proposed Canterbury health cuts

Public Service Association members are shocked and appalled by Canterbury District Health Board’s proposal to cut $56.9 million from its budget, a move that will inevitably lead to significant reductions in health workers and services.

Media reports indicate the DHB intends to eliminate hundreds of jobs, but with health employees already severely overworked and understaffed the union says this is impossible to achieve without extremely negative consequences.

The PSA represents hospital admin workers, allied and technical health professionals, and mental health and public nurses, many of whom are preparing to protest from 9am Thursday morning in front of CDHB’s Corporate Building on 32 Oxford Tce.

“The world is gripped by a deadly pandemic, and our public health systems must be fully staffed and fully resourced to keep our communities safe. To even contemplate slashing jobs and health services at a time like this is irresponsible and dangerous,” says PSA National Secretary Kerry Davies.

“Canterbury DHB has faced incredibly difficult times in recent years, and the debt they carry is in large part a result of the Christchurch earthquake, its enormous rebuild costs and central government’s failure to make allowances for this. If you demand the DHB eliminates its debt practically overnight, the inevitable consequence is that the people of Canterbury will suffer severe harm to their health services.”

Canterbury DHB has carried out internal surveys of staff wellbeing, and the number one issue raised by many health personnel is that they already have too much work and not enough time to do it.

“A hospital cannot operate without a full roster of staff, it’s that simple. Our members are already stretched to the absolute limit and there is no fat to trim,” says Ms Davies.

“It is deeply concerning to think of the potential consequences if this proposal goes ahead. Massive budget cuts would mean fewer staff, reduced services and reduced capacity for community care. It is ludicrous to contemplate health budget cuts when facing such serious threats.”

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