HEALTH Minister Kim Hames claims patient care at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital will not be affected by the ‘adjustment’ of 200 jobs.
As revealed in The Sunday Times today, several Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital department heads have been told they need to shed the equivalent of 200 full-time positions as soon as possible, including doctors and nurses.
Yesterday a top insider said they had been warned that up to 10 per cent of the hospital’s workforce – up to 500 jobs – could eventually go.
Dr Hames confirmed today an expected 200 jobs were likely to be “adjusted”.
“My understanding is that 200 is likely, but it’s not going to be that suddenly 200 people are losing a job,” he said.
“We’ll be having transfers to other hospitals, moving patients to where the demand is and reduction by natural attrition.
“We’re not reducing numbers, we’re not cutting staff, people are not getting the sack. What we’re doing is adjusting our numbers across the system.”
Dr Hames said staffing numbers had to be adjusted after the hospital had a drop in patient numbers.
“So they’ve got to adjust their staffing levels back to the right amount, the same amount that every other hospital in Australia is doing and make sure that they get their numbers matching the patients coming in,” he said.
“But at the same time we’re having those adjustments, we’ve had more than 200 added extra full-time equivalents at Joondalup Hospital.
“It’s not efficient to fund far more for a hospital whose patient numbers are actually going down.”
The Health Services Union of WA and the Opposition, however, say the job cuts will drastically affect patient care.
Opposition health spokesman Roger Cook said the budget cuts would have a “severe impact on hospital services”.
“I don’t see any doctors and nurses standing around wondering where their next patient is going to come from,” Mr Cook said.
“I don’t think any of the patients in this ED today will be saying ‘goodness me, things have dropped off. I’m getting served much quicker.’
“Hospitals are still struggling to deal with the demand from Perth’s growing populations and as a result of these cuts patients will wait longer and patient care will suffer.”
HSUWA secretary Dan Hill said he believed casual and contracted staff would be targeted.
“Slashing 200 FTE’s (full time equivalent) actually translates into many more people losing their jobs, because many staff will be in part time positions,” Mr Hill said.
“For example, up to five staff members could make up just 1 FTE position.
“The health sector has already been cut to the bone and any further cuts could severely impact the quality of care given to patients.”
SCGH has more than 600 beds and is one of Australia’s leading teaching tertiary hospitals, treating more than 400,000 patients every year.