Hundreds of hospital support workers walked off the job yesterday after being kept in the dark about job security.
Non-clinical staff including Cleaners, Caterers and Patient Care Assistants (orderlies), have not been told what will happen to their jobs when the Health Department moves wards to Serco run, Fiona Stanley Hospital.
Staff from Royal Perth Hospital, Fremantle Hospital, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Kaleeya Hospital and Shenton Park Rehabilitation Campus rallied out the front of the RPH yesterday, to send a clear message to the Health Department: We deserve answers.
For the past 18 months, hospital workers have been given very little information about what will happen to their jobs once services begin to close down.
United Voice delegate and Royal Perth Support worker Brenda says she attended the action because it was going to affect herself and her co-workers.
“It’s the fear of having no security,” she said.
“No one has given us answers to the point that there’s no job security and we’re all in limbo.
“What’s going to happen (to our jobs)?”
Brenda says the best case scenario would be for the Health Department to be truthful to hospital workers.
“They should keep to their word about how they promised to let everybody know what’s going on,” she said.
- Closing 150 beds (450 beds to 300 beds)
- Shutting down all maternity services
- Closing the Emergency Department
- 33% cut in patient activity
Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital:
- 10% efficiency cuts
Royal Perth Hospital:
- Beds cut from 662 to 450
- 50% outpatient activity cut
- 40% clinical staff will move to Fiona Stanley Hospital
Shenton Park Rehab Campus:
- Closing in October 2014
- Closing in December 2014
United Voice delegate and Patient Care Assistant at Shenton Park campus Mark said he attended the action because he wants answers.
“I want answers to where we’re going to go and what’s going to happen to the WA health system.
“What’s happening to our future?
“17 years in the public health care system; 17 long years and we do great work here and now we’re about to be replaced by Serco, a private company.”
Mark says when hospital staff have approached the Health Department for answers about their positions, they have been told that they don’t know.
“How can they not know?” Mark asked.
“They know who works in the departments, how big they are; they know the numbers.
“When Shenton Park campus closes, 124 staff are going to have to go to RPH and what’s going to happen then?”
Mark said the mood around Shenton Park campus felt ‘angry, sad and depressed.’
“What’s going to happen to our bills, to our mortgages, our jobs, our incomes?” he said.
United Voice WA Secretary Carolyn Smith said yesterday’s action wasn’t about pay; it was about the rights of workers to know their future.
“The opening of Serco run Fiona Stanley Hospital means the shutdown of over 400 public hospital beds,” she said.
“Simply, the major cuts to these hospitals mean many jobs will go.
“The department has a commitment to provide suitable alternative employment but with numbers this big, natural attrition will not cover them.”
Ms Smith said workers deserve to know the Health Department’s plan for these job losses.
“Support staff have been told nothing; it’s a disgrace,” she said.
“This clearly shows the privatisation of public services is failing WA.
“Giving Serco $50million to run an empty hospital and yet hundreds of public hospital workers are left wondering if they will have a job next year.
“This government has given nothing but broken promises and lies.”