30 hospital staff go for redundancy

MORE than 30 staff of Albury Wodonga Health have expressed interest in taking voluntary redundancy.

People working at either of the two public hospitals have until the end of next week to register an interest.

Frontline nurses working directly with patients in the wards are not included in the redundancy program, it was confirmed yesterday.

Albury Wodonga Health has called for 50 redundancies as one way of handling a $3.9 million shortfall in government funding for the first six months of the year.

Chief executive Dr Stuart Spring said yesterday the service had not yet examined the applications.

“They would be across the board, except for the frontline nurses,” he said.

The cross-border service employs about 1200 full-time and part-time staff, more than half of them nurses.

Dr Spring has admitted the redundancy payouts, due to be made next month, could top $1 million but would achieve savings in the long run.

NSW will fund the Albury redundancies and Albury Wodonga Health those in Wodonga.

The hospital has closed 28 beds and reduced operation theatre activities, resulting in more public patients having elective surgery postponed.

With 4000 now on the waiting list, the figure is likely to grow about 300 a month, with little improvement after July 1 unless federal and state funding is increased.

Typical operations to be postponed are gall bladder removal and hernia operations where people can wait 30 days or more, and orthopaedic and joint replacement operations.

Albury Wodonga Health has also stopped funding vascular surgery and certain pain management procedures for public patients.

Next month about 120 public patients — mainly children needing tonsils out or adult urological cases — will be treated at Albury-Wodonga Private Hospital under a one-off Victorian grant.