Ashleigh Saunders, regional organizer Together union, Rockhampton region. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin
Ashleigh Saunders, regional organizer Together union, Rockhampton region. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin Sharyn O'Neill ROK240912sunion2

Union raises concerns about cuts to CQ health temporary jobs

CENTRAL Queensland health service workers will meet this week to air their concerns about the "cancellation of people on temporary contracts".

Together Union Rockhampton-based organiser Ashleigh Saunders said the issue had been brought to the union's attention during the past couple of weeks.

Ms Saunders claimed CQ health boss Len Richards, who will leave the role next month, had given a direction that upwards of 30 temporary positions be cancelled.

However, she said, the union had been unable to ascertain specific numbers.

She said these roles varied from allied health workers to administrative positions.

It was stressful for those who had lost work as well as those left behind.

"They already have crippling workloads at our public hospital and this has just increased that burden for them," Ms Saunders said.

She said union members would discuss concerns during a series of meetings across the health district this week, starting with one at Gladstone Hospital tomorrow.

Ms Saunders claimed health authorities hadn't been open or transparent in communications.

Charles Ware and Len Richards at Rockhampton Hospital. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Charles Ware and Len Richards at Rockhampton Hospital. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka

Central Queensland Hospital and Health Board Chair Charles Ware (pictured above left with Len Richards) said it was far better to have a workforce of permanent staff.

"We are working through the process of transferring a number of temporary employees to permanent employment," Mr Ware said.

"Full-time equivalent positions in Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service were 2569.74 in April 2014; at the same time in 2016 there were 2713.35 FTE staff employed.

"Across the health service, all temporary positions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis as those contracts reach their expiry date."

He said the focus would continue to be on ensuring staffing levels were affordable, but also acceptable without compromising patient care.

"Our focus is on expanding the services we can provide our community, but at the same time living within our mean," Mr Ware said.

He said Mr Richards would leave behind a long list of impressive achievements for Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service, including delivery of a permanent public ophthalmology service, a state-of-the-art Intensive Care Unit, rooftop helipad, new cancer-care service, including first-time radiation oncology, in Central Queensland and slashed waiting times for treatment to some of the shortest in the state.

"Health care in Central Queensland has improved immensely under Len's stewardship and the community will reap the benefits of his leadership for many years to come, including the increased number of employment opportunities for Central Queensland," Mr Ware said.



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