Eight jobs on the line as SDHB ditches all elderly-care beds


Up to eight staff at Queenstown’s Lakes District Hospital face the axe over plans to shift six elderly-care beds.

North Island resthome operators John and Heather Rogers are taking over the elderly-care beds from LDH
late next month as part of their deal to buy the adjoining 28-bed Wakatipu Home for the Elderly from Presbyterian Support Southland.

But they don’t intend re-employing the LDH staff tending those beds, the New Zealand Nurses Organisation’s Mike Yeats reveals to Mountain Scene.

He says seven of those LDH staff are healthcare assistants – formerly known as nurse aides – comprising two full-timers, three part-timers and two casuals.

An enrolled nurse’s job is also threatened, Yeats confirms.

“It is quite a lot of people.”

He stresses job losses hinge on the Rogers couple completing their resthome purchase and landlord Southland District Health Board approving the sale.

“We’ve been notified it is likely it will go ahead and so I’ve met with our membership who might be affected,” Yeats says.

“Everyone is anxious and the uncertainty is the key thing that’s the most frustrating because no one really knows for sure what’s going to happen.”

He’s exploring options set out in staff contracts with SDHB, including redundancy, retraining and redeployment.
“We’ll do our best to get them the best possible result.

“The new owner might change his or her mind and decide to take them [on] if they can’t get enough staff.”

Auckland-based John Rogers won’t comment “until the contract goes unconditional”.

Mountain Scene couldn’t reach Otago/Southland DHB boss Brian Rousseau.

Yeats believes SDHB wants the new owner to take over the LDH staff.

But by taking over the elderly-care beds, the North Island couple would be doing SDHB’s bidding.

The DHB has long wanted to rid LDH of those six old folks’ beds but PSS refused to take them over.

Wakatipu Health Trust spokesperson Maria Cole, who’s battling for better local health services, is surprised the new resthome owners don’t plan to keep LDH staff. “The million-dollar question will be, what’s going to happen where those six beds are?”

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