Senior nurses fight for jobs
By Susan Price
BRISBANE — About 150 senior nursing staff and supporters demonstrated outside Parliament House on April 10, calling for an end to the Goss Labor government's plans to abolish senior nursing positions across Queensland.
The government aims to replace policy-making consultants from the nursing profession with government-appointed administrative personnel. Similar moves are under way in the Education Department, with school principals having to reapply for their own jobs against high-powered managerial hopefuls, with no teaching experience necessary.
At the picket, a petition was presented to the health minister by a delegation of nurses, who also met with him to defend their positions.
According to Val Coughlin-Jones from the Division of Nursing, this action is only the beginning of a forceful campaign if the government refuses to back down.
Nursing staff — 70% of all health workers in the state — were led into a false sense of security when it was announced that the health system would become decentralised into 13 regional areas. This was supported as providing better input from nurses into decision-making on a local level. But alongside this possibly progressive step has come this retrograde attempt to take decision-making out of the hands of nursing staff. n