Greens MP and health spokesperson Lee Rhiannon is calling on the NSW Premier to reverse the push to cut 400 jobs from the North Coast Area Health Service, particularly considering the substantial funding expected to flow to NSW Health at a result of today’s COAG meeting in Canberra.

“Premier Nathan Rees could cancel the need for today’s rallies by dropping plans to cut an estimated 400 jobs now he is set to pocket a significant share of the almost $8 billion in health Federal funding being offered by Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon,” she said.

“Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon is offering generous funding to the States in a bid to remedy the ailing health system.

“Premier Rees should ensure some of the windfall flows to the Far North Coast.”

Ms Rhiannon said that this week, Commissioner Peter Garling SC handed down his report on public hospitals, urging the Government to prioritise patients’ needs.

“Slashing staff will only downgrade patient care and amplify the problems facing the Far North Coast’s health system,” she said.

“The Government should allocate a fair proportion of COAG funding to the region which is struggling to support the health needs of a rapidly ageing and growing population base.

“The problem with health services on the Far North Coast is that there’s no fat to lose.

“Cuts to staff will compromise quality of care and increase stress for the remaining health workers.

“Front-line staff are the lifeblood of the health system, and this includes support staff and cleaners who are critical in infection control.

“While a major overhaul of the NSW health system is required, with more funding allocated to primary health, staff cuts are not the solution to the budget challenges facing the Government.”