Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nurses In Tasmania Face The Axe

Flag of TasmaniaImage via WikipediaIt was reported in Saturdays edition of 'The Examiner Newspaper' that about 37 nurses will lose their jobs at the Launceston General Hospital when their contracts expire at the end of December. The nurses in question were alerted when the rosters for January were released on Friday.

John Kirwan, Northern Area Health Service Chief Executive stated that not all positions involved were full-time. In a somewhat 'odd' statement, he said that, "....some were leaving...." due to a budget of $28 million budget cut. I find it ludicrous to suggest that even a few of the nurses involved would be leaving of their own volition.  He then had the audacity to suggest that some nurses were "....finishing up for personal reasons."

Back in the late 1980's when I was a Student Nurse, the concept of 'Career Structure' was

instigated. Most of us saw this for what it was....even before it started. I won't bore you with all of the gory details but one example was taking the rostering and other administration duties being taken away from Charge Nurses. The responsibility went to three Registered Nurses who probably weren't the safest nurses to have on the ward. Their wages were doubled and the rosters were a disaster. This mentality went on to affect every other aspect of nursing with the same shambolic administration results. Basically, positions that didn't exist were being created for nurses who weren't up to scratch on the ward. This has resulted in an almost unbelievable 'bulge' in middle-management.

For over a decade it has been common practise to employ nurses, be they newly-trained

University Graduates or from interstate or overseas, on three month contracts and verbally reassured that their future was solid. This is all very well but the University Graduates have their H.E.C.S. fees to pay off. Added to this is the fact that banks won't give nurses on a three month contract a housing loan. This happened to a friend of mine who had been strung along for five years like this. He returned to the U.K. in understandable disgust.

Nerolli Ellis, the state secretary for the Australian Nurses Federation described the situation as "....absolutely devastating." This is the same rhetoric that Ms. Elllis has been serving up to nurses for way too long and they are now seeing her in a different light; namely in that she is seeking a career in politics having stood for pre-selection to the Liberal Party at the last election.

The Labor and Green Parties are yet to comment. This entire fiasco has simply just happened despite well-attended protests; a first for the state. Interestingly, Ms. Ellis did not attend the meeting in Burnie on Tasmanias North-West coast, unlike Mr. Will Hodgman, the only politician that I have heard speak with real and genuine vigor, facts and empathy. Ms. Ellis did have an excuse but it was so lame that I can't recall it word for word

As if to rub salt into this gaping wound, nurses in Victoria are protesting for wage increases while Tasmanian nurses are fighting to maintain a wage!

If you care at all about this debacle, post your thoughts on Twitter with hashtags #politas and #nursingcuts. If you wish to contact relevant politicians, inbox me on Twitter @scotsbob

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