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NSW axes 300 jobs in health restructure

NSW Health Minister says health restructure will improve local decision-making.

A middle layer of bureaucracy at the NSW Health Department will be abolished under a restructure that will scrap 300 positions, and savings of $80 million directed to frontline services.

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner announced last week that the three "clusters" between the director general of the Health Department and the local health districts will be scrapped, saving money and improving local decision making.

The restructure will bring 8,000 workers in the clusters into the health districts but 200 middle layer management positions and 100 head office jobs will be abolished.

Skinner said 150 of the 300 positions were currently vacant and efforts would be made to find positions for the remaining 150 health workers, who would also be offered redundancy.

The restructure would save the state $80 million, money that would be pumped into frontline services, she said.

"We are removing a middle layer of management which will allow resources to be deployed to support frontline health care," Skinner told reporters at NSW Parliament.

"The new structure will provide greater transparency and accountability, duplication of tasks will be stopped and there will be greater clarity of roles and responsibilities."
The Australian Medical Association said the bureaucratic changes were a "major step in the right direction".

"The importance of local clinician engagement in decision-making over instructions being handed down from a centralised bureaucracy is something that we've been championing for some time," AMA (NSW) president Dr Michael Steiner said in a statement.

He said handing more responsibility to local health districts would allow them to provide a better service and "encourage clinicians to get more involved in decision-making about local services".

But state opposition leader John Robertson said frontline health workers would now have to cover the administrative functions of the axed bureaucrats.

"Three hundred jobs going out of health is going to mean frontline staff will be taken away from doing their jobs to perform the functions of the people who are going to be sacked," Mr Robertson told reporters in Sydney.

"We're going to see nurses, allied health professionals and doctors taken away from dealing with patients because they've got to fill out paperwork and they've got to do the other critical things that keep the health system running."


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