Health NZ cuts over 500 jobs amid sector overhaul

Chief executive cites recruitment freeze for non-frontline positions

Health NZ cuts over 500 jobs amid sector overhaul

Health New Zealand - Te Whatu Ora has announced the redundancy of more than 500 staff members as the country undergoes major reforms to its healthcare sector.

This development comes just 18 months after the agency was established in 2022 to streamline health services and replace the 20 district health boards, according to the New Zealand Herald.

During a session with the Health Committee at Parliament, Health NZ chief executive Margie Apa said there had been a recruitment freeze for non-frontline positions since “day one.”

The directive has led to the disestablishment of 2300 positions, resulting in some 500 redundancies to date.

An additional 1,600 redundancies are expected to be announced throughout the reform process. Meanwhile, those that were laid off received payouts exceeding $9 million, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Allocating resources to understaff areas

Discussing the impact of these consolidation measures, Apa said the agency has seen around $139 million in savings for the first fiscal year.

She also shared that the centralisation of health services has led to a more coordinated response to infectious diseases and better allocation of resources to understaffed areas.

Dr Richard Sullivan, Health NZ’s chief clinical officer, went on to note improvements in reducing surgical wait times and the execution of additional orthopaedic surgeries over the past six months, said the report.

Efforts to eliminate long waits for routine surgeries have seen substantial progress, he said, with the number of patients waiting over a year for their procedures falling from 12,000 to 600.

Additionally, Health NZ executives said they’ve made headway in addressing the talent shortage among healthcare practitioners, stating that boosted the number of GP trainees and brought on more nurses through international recruitment, said the New Zealand Herald.

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