A union has mounted a dispute in the Industrial Relations Commission over a health restructure they claimed was "dumped" on staff without proper consultation.
The Health Services Union said some Goulburn staff members only discovered through colleagues that their jobs would be cut or downgraded.
The Southern NSW Local Health District released its organisational restructure on Thursday after more than four years.
A spokesman said 53 people in managerial and support positions would be "directly impacted."
"The District will also reallocate, and support impacted employees to move to other meaningful roles, and take up vacancies as they become available over the next year.
"Additionally, approximately 94 people will be impacted through changes to reporting lines, clarification to work and changes of grades. To the greatest extent possible, all of these staff will be matched into like positions."
The spokesman said 27 new positions that "went to the heart of patient care" would be created.
But Health Services Union organiser Mark Jay says the 458-page document is being "rammed through" without meaningful consultation.
"They are just trying to sweep it under the carpet and not disclose all the information," he said.
"They are also not abiding by recent agreements for union specific consultative committees to have input into the restructure (before its release). All that has been thrown out the window."
The HSU has lodged a dispute in the Commission, to be heard on October 6.
Mr Jay said members were "upset, anxious and disappointed" with the document's tone. He met with 30 to 40 of them at Bourke Street Health Service on Tuesday.
District management released the restructure at a staff meeting on Thursday. A spokesman said four weeks' final consultation with staff and unions would ensue, building on their previous feedback, which "had been taken on board."
But Mr Jay said despite promises of a transparent process by the new chief executive earlier in the year, this had not occurred.
"How can we support our members with meaningful and informed consultation and raise issues of concern if they have not disclosed full information from the start?" he asked.
The Union claims closer to 219 of the District's more than 3000 employees will be affected, with 53 positions to be either "phased out or eliminated."
Regional organiser Josh Howarth said while management stated it would re-allocate impacted staff into roles, the document did not detail what these would be.
The question is will these 53 positions be abolished in 12 months? If so, they will have no option but to give them voluntary redundancy.Mark Jay, HSU organiser
Anyone who didn't have a position would be salary-maintained for a year under current state policy.
"So the question is will these 53 positions be abolished in 12 months? If so, they will have no option but to give them voluntary redundancy." Mr Jay said.
Key positions to be phased out by December 2020 include the Goulburn risk management coordinator, child well-being and child protection coordinator, drug and alcohol strategic coordinator, senior clinical psychologist, return to work coordinator, recovery at work claims officer, manager of wait list and patient flow, transport and travel manager and patient transport coordinator.
Mr Howarth said others faced a change in reporting lines, including the aboriginal mental health drug and alcohol clinical lead based in Goulburn. He feared this workload would be spread across a larger area, affecting referral waiting times.
"The change in reporting lines could see a downgrade in position and increased workload for staff who are already stretched to the limit," Mr Howarth said.
He estimated wage losses in the order of $8000 to $45,000 for some downgrades.
Others will have their positions "amended" by December, including the Goulburn Allied Health manager.
"All they're doing is trying to save money, justify their existence and increase workload. They can't sustain that," Mr Jay said.
"Their breaking point is now. We've had the pandemic, fires, drought and flood and now we've got this. The whole community is impacted."
He expected more union meetings to ramp up, following the IRC hearing.
But the Health District says the restructure will establish three new geographic areas to support communities. There will also be two new District directorates for mental health, drug and alcohol and integrated care.
Other changes include:
- A district director for allied health;
- Appointment of a medical co-director and manager of clinical improvement;
- Creation of a manager of patient experience and customer feedback role;
- A new role providing more support for graduate nurses and ongoing education;
- A new renal services position;
- The District manager of aboriginal health will provide advice directly to the CEO;
- Creation of a corporate services role, a manager of strategic procurement and supply and three business analyst roles.
"The main focus is to engage in consultation with staff and industrial bodies over the next four weeks," a spokesman said.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association is also studying the restructure's detail.
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