HealthCare New Zealand is restructuring again as some DHB contracts are being withdrawn
A home health care provider shedding 59 jobs while undergoing further restructuring.
HealthCare New Zealand has announced the planned restructuring to employees, and responses are due by July 12th.
The move comes because the underfunding has led the company to terminate its contract with the South Canterbury District Health Board, with another five on the chopping block.
The proposal builds on a major restructuring in early 2020, which saw 100 jobs in regional administration and coordinators cut and replaced by call centers in Auckland and Dunedin.
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This restructuring led to criticism from customers who said the quality of care had deteriorated.
HealthCare New Zealand is a privately held company that contracts with district health officials to support the elderly, disabled and injured at home and in the community.
Acting General Manager Josephine Gagan said the latest proposal would eliminate “back and forth” communications between the new central service centers and branches by simplifying systems.
Changes include the creation of a centralized HR team, the creation of a “service review team” to manage the registered nurses, and the replacement of local branch managers with “relationship managers”.
There were 287 employees affected by the changes, ranging from the resolution of roles to a change of title.
According to the proposal, 59 jobs would be cut. However, while there would be a “net cut,” some people were being transferred to new roles and existing jobs so the number of job losses was unknown, she said.
The proposed changes have worried Nelson Mrs. Rebekah Smith, who uses a wheelchair and relies on HealthCare NZ for support.
She said the new centralized call center had repeatedly failed her, including sending an assistant who had consumed alcohol and was not fit to drive, she said.
The local manager was tailored to her needs and was excellent at working with clients, but she understood that this reorganization would mean a manager taking care of the tip of the South Island to the middle of the North Island.
“The needs of the customers do not come first.”
In particular, individual knowledge would be lost, she said.
“One of the critical aspects of doing this is aligning the needs of the customers with the careers, which can only be successfully achieved by a local management that has built relationships / knowledge of the careers and the specific customers,” she wrote in an E -Mail to Gagan expressing her concern.
However, Gagan said the move was aimed at freeing up staff to focus on customers by creating more centralized systems.
“The current structure doesn’t work for them, and at the end of the day they are a priority.”
It would also make it clearer to employees how to request a vacation, for example, which would lead to fewer missed events.
She was unaware of the alcohol allegations and would investigate. However, this is the kind of issue the new system with clearer HR processes for managing complaints could address.
The company also had to manage its bottom line, she said.
“We continue to face serious funding problems from the government. Many contracts are still extremely tight, so that several providers have left our industry in recent years. “
“Unsustainable funding” forced the company to inform South Canterbury DHB that it was withdrawing from its contract, and it was likely that they would withdraw from another five, she said.
The SCDHB’s Director of Primary Health Partnerships and Allied Health Ruth Kibble said they would work hard to make sure no one misses out on services.
HealthCare NZ, the smallest of the four care providers, supported 120 customers in South Canterbury.
“The SCDHB will appoint a transition manager who will work with each individual customer and their wānau to determine their new choice of provider and will work through the transition to the new provider,” said Kibble.
At this stage the contract would run until November.
PSA Deputy National Secretary Melissa Woolley said she expected its members to keep their jobs in the new structure, but it was still a tough time for members.
“You feel exhausted and concerned – two reorganizations in two years is a lot. And that is on top of the stress and responsibility of being key workers during the Covid lockdown.
“Members have told us that it feels like a slap in the face to face this kind of insecurity again.”