HealthCare NZ workers protest job cut plans

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Over 200 jobs in the health care sector could be at risk of being disestablished, due to a recently announced restructure by Health Care NZ. In response, workers for the privately-owned company are taking to the streets to protest the restructure as they say it will have a huge effect on carers and patients nation-wide.  

Union organizer for the PSA, Grace Newton says that decisions like this are symptoms of being owned by a private company such as Health Care NZ. 

“They're looking at taking away a lot of regional coordinators and that looks like, on the ground, this means fewer people in the community.... fewer people working with people." 

Regional coordinators who will be replaced by an Auckland based call centre that will aim to provide patients with the care they require, a concept Newton feels will simply not work. 

“Coordinators in the community can really build those relationships with people and find out what they need and without those relationships, that level of care drops away,” Newton says.

Healthcare workers gather outside the Health Care NZ office in Albany. Source/file

Health Care New Zealand released a media statement yesterday regarding the matter:

“The proposed new structure, including the creation of a national Service Centre, and better technological systems and processes, would help us deliver better customer-directed care and pursue growth opportunities arising from anticipated social and demographic change.”

Health care worker Simone Best (Tainui) says that professionals in the industry are faced with day to day struggles that make their work increasingly difficult.

"We've got whanau at home, some of us are starting early, and finishing late. I mean we have lots of aroha to give but sometimes it gets really draining, so we don't have a chance to touch base with our own whānau," Best says.