Children’s Hospital Job Cuts
The NSW government has attempted to ease fears of job cuts at two Sydney children's hospitals despite pressure to slash labour costs.
Health Minister Jillian Skinner says the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network, which covers the Children's Hospital at Westmead and the Sydney Children's Hospital at Randwick, needs to slice $3.3 million off their wages bill.
But she denied media reports that 135 full-time jobs could be slashed over a four-year period. "They do need to find $3.3 million in labour expense cuts but they are about working smarter," she told the Fairfax Radio Network.
Greens MP John Kaye said if jobs were lost at children's hospitals it would be "catastrophic".
But Ms Skinner said the care of sick children would not be compromised.
"I will never compromise the quality of care of children, or any of our other patients," she said.
"It's about not putting on very expensive locums, it's about not engaging so many contractors, it's about actually employing more permanent staff." Elizabeth Koff, the chief executive of the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network, also said it was wrong to assume jobs would be lost.
The Sydney network's budget had increased by 2.9 per cent this year, she said. "Savings do not necessarily equate to positions lost as they may include smarter ways of working and lessening the reliance on contractors and locums and other unnecessary expensive labour costs," she said in a statement.
But Opposition Leader John Robertson said cutting funding for sick children was "a new low" for the O'Farrell government.
"Nothing should be more important than providing top quality medical care and support services for our state's sickest children and their families," he said in a statement.
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