Hospitals begin redundancies

ALBURY Wodonga Health will know next week who will be made redundant.

Staff interviews are under way to determine who will be granted the voluntary redundancy package after the initial target of cutting 50 jobs was oversubscribed.

More than 70 people, about 5 per cent of the workforce, have applied for the exit package designed to ease cost pressures on the Border’s public hospitals.

Those applying for redundancies are a mix of full and part-time workers, frontline staff and those behind the scenes.

But chief executive Stuart Spring said yesterday the number of redundancies could be less than the original target.

“The 50 was a target without being a fixed target. In reality it will be less,” he said.

“There are a number of frontline staff that have put their hands up and that was not the aim of the package.

“It was targeted at administrative staff but there are some people with a clinical background who are not directly involved in patient care and they still qualify.

“But either way it will be a significant contribution to reducing the costs of Albury Wodonga Health.”

The health service has been struggling with cutbacks, more than $2 million cut from its budget by the Victorian government this financial year alone.

Dr Spring said the number of applicants was not a reflection on staff morale.

“It works out to be 58 full-time equivalents,” he said.

“There are 1500 staff here and 73 is a lot but not a lot. And it is on both campuses.

“It is not a statement on the health service but more about where individuals are at in their life’s journey — approaching retirement.”

Applicants were going through an interview process before the final decision was made.

“We are asking what they are hoping to achieve through this process and examining the extent to which they may be able to be released from their role and the implications for the health service generally,” he said.

“And by the end of the next week we should be able to advise those people of their success or otherwise.”