HEALTH INCENTIVE: Member for Lismore Thomas George (left) and NSW Minister for Health John Della Bosca (2nd left) are given a run down on Lismore Base Hospital progress works by construction officials yesterday.
HEALTH INCENTIVE: Member for Lismore Thomas George (left) and NSW Minister for Health John Della Bosca (2nd left) are given a run down on Lismore Base Hospital progress works by construction officials yesterday. Jay Cronan

NCAHS jobs come - and go

NSW Health Minister John Della Bosca visited Lismore yesterday to announce 11 new North Coast Area Health positions, just nine months after his government began a wave of cuts that will eventually see 400 health jobs go across the region.

Mr Della Bosca said the Lismore Base Hospital would get seven clinical support officers, who will 'assist nurses with administration' and Ballina will receive one. Lismore would also get three extra pharmacists to monitor prescription drugs.

“This is not just about job creation - these are important jobs,” he said.

The minister faced a barrage of questions from journalists about why North Coast health was being forced to shed jobs.

“Every area health service, every hospital, every unit has to use the taxpayer resources as wisely as possible,” he said.

Branch secretary for the NSW Nurses Association, Gil Wilson, lobbied the minister to abandon a push to make Lismore and Ballina share a director of nursing.

“The health service is not going to save any money, so why do it,” he said.

Mr Wilson said overtaxing managers resulted in more work being filtered down to nurses.

But he welcomed the creation of 11 new jobs.

Mr Della Bosca said the new positions were recommended by the Garling Report, a special inquiry into the state's ailing health system.

“The NSW health system like every public system is under pressure, particularly with the global financial crisis and other budget pressures,” he said.

Mr Della Bosca was also questioned about moves to outsource patient food in hospitals and the health department's delay of months in paying creditors.

“We want to make sure that we are operating in budget. These are measures to make sure we operate in budget, it ensures the system is sustainable,” he said.

Mr Della Bosca also inspected work on Lismore's oncology unit and opened Ballina's new rehabilitation unit.

The $5 million, 25-bed Meryl Brown rehabilitation unit was completed in early 2007.



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