Te Rapuora staff unsure on jobs

Staff at Te Rapuora in Blenheim are angry at the uncertainty as they approach Christmas still unsure if they have jobs next year.

Staff yesterday broke their silence a month after Te Rapuora's closure because of financial problems was announced.

Three staff members spoke to the Marlborough Express but wouldn't be named in case they jeopardised their employment chances with the Maori health providers taking over services from Te Rapuora after December 31.

Other staff wouldn't talk because they were too angry and concerned what they might say, one said.

"They are worried going into Christmas with mortgages to pay, bills to pay. Most can't afford to have a period without work. It has been very stressful, yet they turn up every day and get on with their jobs."

Four Maori health organisations will take over the work of Te Rapuora from next year. Te Kahui Hauora O Ngati Koata, supported by Te Hauora O Te Awhina, will be the lead provider of kaupapa Maori mental health. Maata Waka Ki Te Tau Ihu Trust, with support of Te Hauora O Ngati Rarua, will provide Maori personal health services.

Te Rapuora o te Waiharakeke was the largest provider of Maori mental health services in the region, with 128 clients.

One staff member was disappointed to be hearing updates on the transition of services through the media or members of public.

"We are the ones with our necks on the chopping block, waiting for the guillotine to come down, and we are the last to know."

Staff finish for the Christmas holidays tomorrow but still hadn't heard if they have jobs to come back to.

"It's the 11th hour."

Staff had been forced to compete with each other for a reduced number of jobs available, one staff member said.

"Each week the news has been getting worse for us. I had this idea that, other than the name over the door, things would continue [as they were]. Each week has progressively gone downhill for us . . . ‘We might be dividing the services up, your jobs will be OK' . . . ‘There will be job offers but we can't promise you will get them'. Now they are cutting jobs.

"In some ways it would have been better if Te Rapuora had closed the doors and said ‘that's it'. I don't want to get out of bed in the morning to come here but people rely on us to do our job."

Te Rapuora manager Aroha Metcalf said the ongoing uncertainty so close to Christmas was terrible.

She was concerned some mental health services would not be delivered at the same level as Te Rapuora.

Nelson Marlborough District Health Board director of Maori health Harold Wereta said the services delivered would be confirmed by tomorrow.

The Marlborough Express