We just won't stand for hospital staff cuts

COFFS Harbour residents strongly supported Saturday's rally at Coffs Harbour Health Campus in protest of looming local staff and budget cuts.

Rally organiser and Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, said people came to “vent their spleens”, support hospital staff and send a clear message to the Government that they would not tolerate the cuts.

“Heaps of people were there to say they wanted a service they deserved,” Mr Fraser said.

“The system is already struggling, these cuts will break it.”

He said doctors and nurses he spoke to were glad to see the rally taking place, even if they were unable to be part of it.

“There is tremendous community support.

“We ran out of petitions because so many people were taking them to hand out around their communities.

“I am asking people to get their petitions back to me as soon as possible so I can present them to both the Premier and the Minister for Health.

“We have to keep the pressure up.”

A spokesman for the North Coast Area Health Service said senior management was continuing to consult with hospital managers and other staff to explain the importance of meeting budgets at this challenging economic time.

“Following the recent NSW mini-budget, all arms of government are reviewing their operations ... like other Area Health Services, the NCAHS is reviewing expenditure to analyse where economies may be made,” the spokesman said.

“It is not possible to say yet by how much staff numbers (across the service) may need to be reduced although 400 positions is the broad target.

“No decision has been made regarding the level of reductions at specific facilities.

“Corporate and administrative areas are the priority focus for savings.”

He said there would be no involuntary redundancies.

Coffs Harbour Campus branch secretary of the NSW Nurses Federation, Jenny Ryan, said nurses had been told on Wednesday that the equivalent of 89 full-time positions would have to be shed without impacting on patient care.

Mr Fraser said copies of the petitions were available from both his office and the National Party's website.

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