DHB staff restrictions criticised
Clerical and administrative staff at the MidCentral District Health Board say a Government-imposed cap on their numbers is affecting services because of an increasing workload.
PSA union organiser John Shennan and four members of a clerical admin action group met DHB chief executive Murray Georgel yesterday to express their concerns and ask the DHB to convey them to the Government.
The Government told DHBs in 2009 to cap the number of clerical and administration staff at their December 2008 level.
Shennan said the meeting had involved a wide-ranging discussion about pay and workloads.
With the cap in place, and with services increasing as a result of extra government funding, staff were coming under pressure.
"As more operations are done, for example, there needs to be typists who can type up the notes that the surgeon did that can be sent to GPs and clinics for follow-up."
He said there could now be delays of up to a month before reports were typed and that could compromise patient safety.
"I'm not for a moment saying there's a crisis or trying to create fears that people are in danger. Each of these cases is obviously being managed as best they can. But the staff numbers and workloads now are starting to be out of control."
The aim of the meeting was to raise the issues and ask the DHB to make it clear to the Government that the cap was having an effect on patient care.
A petition expressing support for the clerical and administrative staff, bearing the signatures of 652 staff including doctors and nurses, was also presented.