The impossible dream: Firing hospital bureaucrats

It appears to have happened in South Australia but it's mostly just a reshuffle

MORE than 50 full-time bureaucrats will be axed from the state Health Department.

In a statement late yesterday, SA Health chief executive David Swan said 53 full-time equivalent staff would lose their jobs in a savings measure expected to rein in $10 million a year. The cuts equate to each job being worth nearly $190,000 a year.

Front line staff and service delivery would not be affected.  "All of these roles are located within the Department for Health and Ageing, not in our hospitals," Mr Swan said.

Earlier this month, Health Minister John Hill admitted his department would not be able to meet savings targets set for it by Treasurer Jack Snelling.

Mr Hill also banned flexitime for senior employees to save up to $13 million a year. The department was supposed to shed more than 440 full-time equivalent public servants this year but had only managed to shed 70 by December last year.  The Health department is facing a projected overspend of $125 million in 2011-12.

Mr Swan said the department was "continuously looking at ways to identify efficiencies to ensure funds are directed into services".

"In line with this, the department has conducted a review of activities over the past few months which has resulted in a restructure," he said.

"The review has led to the reduction of 53 FTE positions through targeted voluntary separation packages and redeployment. These positions were situated across a number of head office functions, including communications and policy."

Mr Swan said the review also identified additional savings in goods and services expenditure throughout the department. In addition to the review, a further 22.4 FTE vacant positions were declared "excess to requirements" as part of the existing savings strategies.  This brings the total number of positions to be reduced by 75.4 FTE.

"We are always looking at how we can improve the way we do business and continue to deliver world-class health services to South Australians," Mr Swan said.


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