Hundreds of health jobs go under knife

Yaralla Place Residential Aged Care Facility in Maryborough.
Yaralla Place Residential Aged Care Facility in Maryborough. Megan Pope

A BOMBSHELL has hit the public health sector with a restructure that could slash up to 220 full-time equivalent jobs.

The shock of Thursday's announcements by Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service boss Adrian Pennington has been felt across the region.

There will be changes to the management of Yaralla Place nursing home in Maryborough, Eidsvold Hospital will cease operation, home care services will be affected and indigenous health services will be restructured among a series of allied proposals.

"Within the context of all of the changes we've announced today, approximately 200 to 220 full-time equivalent jobs, about 300 people, are potentially at risk," Mr Pennington told Win News.

All changes have been signed off by the WBHHS board headed up by chairman Gary Kirk.

Mr Pennington maintains the cuts will improve health services and preserve jobs in the long term.

Maryborough's government-owned Yaralla Place nursing home could be privatised as early as April as part of the deep structural changes.

Executive guarantees that residents' tenure at the home would be secure did little to allay fears to family members.

Maryborough's Heather Santi, whose father William Appleton lives at Yaralla, said any change in staffing would be harrowing for high-care residents.

"They have nothing except the familiarity of what is around them," Mrs Santi said.

"They get used to the nursing staff they're with."

Nursing staff met with health executives at Yaralla on Thursday and are due to meet Mr Pennington next Wednesday.

Queensland Nurses Union regional organiser Vicki Smith raised fears that a private operator would not run Yaralla with the same staffing levels as at present.

"They pay a lot less in wages, they staff less," Ms Smith said.

Mr Pennington said Yaralla Place ran at a deficit of about $5 million each year.

He said it was important not to let losses generated by running an aged care home to place mainstream departments at risk.

"I and the board of Wide Bay would not contemplate closing down emergency departments," he said.

Topics:  eidsvold, fraser coast, health jobs, job cuts, yaralla



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