Health staff in rush to quit

IPSWICH health staff are putting their hands up for voluntary redundancies, but managers will not reveal how many staff will be lost.

'Non-frontline' staff members were asked to put their names forward for redundancy packages two weeks ago, as the West Moreton health service tries to find $17 million in savings from its budget.

Union officials say some employees have already taken redundancy packages, and employees who don't risk being made redundant without the incentive payment on offer.

The Queensland Times asked the West Moreton Hospital and Health Board how many staff would be offered redundancies, but it did not provide a figure.

Board chairwoman Dr Mary Corbett said "many" non-frontline staff had put their names down for voluntary redundancies.

"We will continue to implement our turnaround plan towards March 2013 and into the future, with an enhanced focus on natural attrition and vacancies," she said in a statement. "This allows us to take opportunities to streamline functions and review the way we deliver support services."

Dennis Mullins, lead organiser of the Together public sector union, said those who didn't take redundancy packages risked losing their jobs anyway and receiving only the minimum redundancy payout.

"Some people have gone for it. There are jobs and families being stripped out of Ipswich," he said.

The Newman Government has come under fire for leaving the newly implemented health boards to make the tough choices.

The West Moreton Hospital and Health Board took over the running of health services on July 1.

Mr Mullins said Health Minister Lawrence Springborg should take responsibility for the staff cuts.

"Lawrence Springborg is still hiding behind the health district boards, making them take the tough decisions, but it's based on strangling the purse strings so they have no choice."

Dr Corbett said the board's intention was to deliver a more efficient and effective health service to the community.

"Our commitment to each and every staff member is to keep them informed and to actively seek their feedback on how we can make these improvements.

"To further this we have held a key clinician and staff consultation workshop to discuss and develop key strategies to assist the hospital and health service to provide better care and better value into the future."

Dr Corbett said the process may be unsettling for some staff.

"I would like to offer my assurance that staff will be supported throughout this time.

"For the majority of staff, their daily work will continue to be focused on the very important role of delivering excellence in care."