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Health dramas roll on: 60 hospital jobs in limbo

ABOUT 60 Toowoomba Hospital jobs remain in limbo as job positions are restructured.

Hospital directors say the move will streamline patient care, but unions say the news was heartless.

The Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service advised wardspersons and bed cleaners at Toowoomba Hospital in February that a new role of "operational services officer" would be created at Toowoomba Hospital.

Following a hearing in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission last Wednesday at the request of the Australian Workers Union, the health service again wrote to staff to clarify that the workers' current jobs were not continuing.

"We have come to a point where workers are treated as numbers on spreadsheets and health boards are directed to consider all services on a cut-cost basis.

The news comes after hospital workers rallied in Toowoomba last week over the axing of three senior nursing positions at Toowoomba Hospital.

In order for the new position to be created, current wardspersons were told their current jobs would be made redundant and they would be encouraged to apply for the new roles and that there would be four less positions available.

"We hope most staff will apply for the new roles. Overall there will be four fewer positions in the new service with this change," executive director (people and corporate services) Stewart Gordon said.

"However, some staff have already indicated their willingness to avail themselves of a voluntary redundancy."

Australian Workers' Union Queensland branch secretary Ben Swan labelled the move heartless.

"Telling workers their jobs have been abolished but may be able to apply for another position in a newly created job tells us that the State Government has no shame in using fear as a tool to control workers," Mr Swan said.

"We have come to a point where workers are treated as numbers on spreadsheets and health boards are directed to consider all services on a cut-cost basis.

"These are the workers that keep our hospitals clean and deliver services to patients. Hospitals can't operate without the dedicated work of wards people, bed and equipment cleaners - but this State Government doesn't seem to mind."

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Mr Gordon said the new system would be put in place to deliver a more responsive service to patients using a computer assisted task management system to allocate tasks to staff across the Toowoomba Hospital site.

He said the new system, called Computerised Assisted Radio Personnel System, had been introduced at the Royal Brisbane Hospital and Princess Alexandra Hospital.

"The foot print of Toowoomba Hospital has grown extensively over the past decade and our operational services officers (wardspersons) need to cover a lot of ground to get patients from the emergency department to the various wards and departments," he said.

"With CARPS, each operational services officer will carry a radio device and will be allocated patient transfer jobs via the system.

"These staff members will simply press a button on the radio device to advise they have completed the patient transfer and another job will be allocated.

"This is really our contribution to the improving the patient journey throughout the Toowoomba Hospital."

Topics:  health hospital jobs queensland government toowoomba union


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