DHBs urged to look after staff affected by shared services plan


The Public Service Association is urging District Health Boards to ensure that workers affected by a new shared services plan can be retained or redeployed within their own DHBs.

A final proposal from Health Benefits Limited has been released which will see all DHBs moving to a single centralised system to run their operational finances, purchasing and goods supply.

The move will affect more than 300 jobs across all 21 DHBs, with each DHB impacted differently.


There will be some job loss, some staff will transfer automatically over to the company Health Alliance which will run the centralised services, while others will have to reapply for positions with Health Alliance and relocate to Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch.


PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff says while the shared services plan makes sense in terms of efficiencies and savings, there is no doubt the changes will be unsettling and disruptive for the staff involved.


“The biggest impact will be for staff in the smaller DHBs where jobs are being disestablished or decisions will have to be made around relocating or redundancy.”


“It clearly represents another blow for regional New Zealand as this is where the job loss will hit the hardest. Public sector jobs are important to regional economies and we are seeing more and more centralisation and rationalisation in the public sector which exposes the government’s lack of a sound regional development strategy.” 


“Many of the jobs affected are well paid, highly skilled accounting and procurement roles which will end up being shifted out of provincial areas.  Equally those staff who don’t want to relocate will struggle to find similar job opportunities.”


The changes are due to be phased in over the next two years and the PSA has written to DHBs urging them to plan so that affected staff who don’t want to relocate can be offered alternative jobs within the DHBs where possible.


The PSA is also calling on the government to declare the new centralised service off limits to privatisation.


“Under this proposal the warehousing side of this new shared service operation will be contracted out to an overseas multinational company and we don’t want to see the finance and purchasing areas become prime targets for outsourcing,” Mr Wagstaff says.


“It’s important that Health Alliance, which is operated by a group of Auckland DHBs, retains control and that savings made through centralised services are pumped back into the health system.”


PSA members in DHBs, and the PSA will be making submissions on the proposal during the consultation period which ends at the end of the month with a final decision expected before the end of the year.