The loss of two full-time nursing jobs at Ashburton Hospital is not a cost saving exercise but a structure change to limit duplication in roles, better manage resources and align services, says Canterbury District Health Board acting executive director of nursing Becky Hickmott.
Nine roles were disestablished within acute, inpatient and community service departments and part of a nursing leadership and operational structure. These were replaced with seven new full-time roles.
The changes were not expected to change the provision of care offered, Ms Hickmott said.
“Nine FTE roles are being disestablished, with seven new FTE roles being established. It’s important to note that one of the disestablished non-clinical roles represents a decision not to replace a departing staff member,” she said.
The new nursing roles were expected to offer more efficient delivery of inpatient and acute nursing services; better integration across specialist, community and primary care; clinical leadership as close as possible to the patient/whanau/family; and a clinical leadership career pathway.
She said the DHB valued the skills of its nursing workforce and had worked hard to maintain the expertise of experienced and highly valued nurses.
“We have continued to respond to changes over time to ensure there is an integrated delivery of patient care across the Ashburton district. These changes will enable us to continue to facilitate patient-centred care and recognise the importance of a developing a skilled nursing workforce.”
Staff members affected were being helped to find alternative jobs, or suitable redeployment in the district.
She said delivery of health services in Ashburton was founded on principles of integration and sustainable models of care led by rural generalist expertise.
The change had been through an extensive consultation process that included staff, unions and care partners, she said.
The change set up a new nursing management structure, Ms Hickmott said.
There were also two non-clinical changes included in the new structure.
“The current nursing structure has no delineation between nursing management and clinical leadership roles.
“There was also the potential for duplication of activities across managers as a result of a siloed approach based on the needs of specific ward areas,” she said.
The changes made addressed the duplication and supported a collaborative solution to manage resources more effectively.
“The focus is on creating an improved structure that supports the delivery of nursing services in Ashburton.
“We’re excited by the opportunities this change in structure represents and the new career pathways our staff now have available to them,” she said.