Staff upset hospitals deny workload issues

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More than 500 public health professionals walked off the job at Waitemata District Health Board today to protest against an over-stretched workforce unable to meet patient’s needs.

Staff at Auckland Hospital will strike tomorrow, Wednesday 11, from 8am – 10am outside the main entrance on Park Road, Grafton

Staff at Middlemore Hospital will strike on Thursday 12 from 8am – 10am outside the main entrance on Hospital Road, Otahuhu.

Non-nursing and non-medical staff members of the Public Service Association (PSA), including social workers, physiotherapist and scientists went on strike for two hours.

500 staff joined four protests across Auckland, including North Shore and Waitakere Hospitals, with other staff striking at smaller worksites.

The PSA represents 1000 staff affected by the strike but the union ensured enough staff stayed back to maintain life preserving services and to minimise disruption to patients.

Workers will strike outside Auckland Hospital tomorrow and Middlemore on Thursday.

Warwick Jones, Assistant Secretary of the Public Service Association (PSA) says staff are disappointed to hear the DHBs are saying there isn’t a workload problem.

"We’re happy to go back to bargaining but considering Auckland District Health Boards won’t accept staff are overworked, or that we’ve raised the issue, really goes to the heart of why staff are taking our message to the public," he says. 

The union first raised workload issues in 2010 when the Government started their $1.7billion health cuts, he says.

An Auckland DHB internal survey quoted in the Herald on Sunday confirms staff feel overworked, he says1.

Andy Colwell, a mental health social worker, says staff are overworked and cutting staff incomes isn’t the solution.

"Hospital staff are already overloaded and a new plan to stretch them across seven day services when we aren’t even funded for five will drive staff to exhaustion," he says. "To rub salt in the wounds, the DHBs wants to thank new staff for going the extra mile by paying them less." 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

1.      Herald on Sunday article “Exhaustion Woes At Hospitals” (8/11/2015) ADHB’s own survey shows there are clear workload problem.

  • Auckland DHB staff will strike tomorrow (Wednesday 11) from 8 - 10am. The main protest will be outside Auckland Hospital on Park Road, Grafton.
  • Counties Manukau DHB staff will strike on Thursday 12 from 8-10am. The main protest will be outside Middlemore Hospital on Hospital Road, Papatoetoe.
  • Please note the District Health Boards are referring to the Safe Staffing Healthy Workplace (SSHW) project. The SSHW has only just started working on a tool to measure and identify workloads and the utilisation of staff for the occupations on strike. It will take at least two years to develop this tool and even then won’t provide additional staffing or funding and therefore won’t fundamentally resolve workload problems.