Plunket takes PWC advice to cut senior nursing positions — Does business advice override best practice?

Plunket plans to cut 9 senior nursing positions across New Zealand after advice from PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC). While Plunket has been in the media over fears they will be cutting over 50 positions in central regional centres, there has been no reporting on the loss to these 9 senior nurse positions.

The 9 proposed positions being cut are the only Clinical Nurse Consultants for Plunket in New Zealand. These positions within Plunket are responsible for mentoring nurses and maintaining quality service standards. These are nursing leadership positions.

Plunket has appeared in the media reporting financial concerns and this is given as part of the reason for the restructuring. But only last year Labour was promising $10 million for 100 more Plunket and Tamariki Ora nurses.

Reports from internal Plunket sources (who have requested to remain anonymous) have said that the process in which PWC took to review these senior nursing positions was superficial and insincere. Reportedly, some clinical nurse consultants were called to a meeting about lines of communication between them and other Plunket staff. They were given lists of tasks from various job descriptions and asked which tasks they did. Their answers were then used by PWC to insist on significant role overlap between the clinical nurse consultant and other positions, and therefore advised that there was no need for Plunket to employ 9 clinical nurse consultants across New Zealand.

PWC, whose catch line is “working together to deliver value to your business” may be missing something in their analysis, and sadly Plunket management have missed this also. Nursing leadership positions are a vital part of a safe and effective health workforce, and are seen as essential in upholding standards of excellence and delivering high quality patient care.

The crux of this unravelling tragedy is the circumstance where business organisations dictate health care solutions. It shouldn’t be this way round.

In Solidarity to Plunket workers and the communities that will be affected by these changes,

Health Sector Workers Network

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