SALHN Voluntary Separation Packages Will Attack the Health of Patients and Increase Workload

24 February 2020

The Public Service Association (PSA) was advised on 20 February 2020 that the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network (SALHN) has issued an open call for Expressions of Interest for Voluntary Separation Packages (VSPs).

The Department of Treasury and Finance VSP Guidelines state that VSPs can only be offered to an employee where the “…substantive position/role or duties they are/were employed in has been, or is to be abolished.” This means that the role would no longer be required and would not be back filled, which raises serious workload concerns as well as concerns for patient services.

PSA member workloads are already a problem in many areas. Clause 15 of the South Australian Modern Public Sector Enterprise Agreement: Salaried 2017 requires the employer, with any proposed review or workplace change, to “...include, as part of consultation, an assessment of the potential impact on workloads for individual employees or a work group in a workplace and measures proposed to manage such impacts. The intent of managing impacts must be to minimise the risk of unreasonable workloads.”

The PSA will ensure this assessment occurs prior to any position being lost. We will also ensure that ongoing monitoring occurs post any VSP process. The State Budget Papers contained a very limited number of cuts to staff of SALHN so this is a surprise for the community, unions and staff.

The issuing of VSPs will also require restructures to occur in those areas. The PSA will work with members and your PSA Worksite Representatives to ensure that SALHN consult genuinely and in good faith about any restructures, especially the impact on workloads and services to clients. PSA members working in SALHN are proud of the service they provide to their communities, and staff must be supported to ensure that this work can continue in a safe manner.

This is a critical time for SALHN salaried staff. If you or your colleagues are not yet members of the PSA, please take the opportunity to join. We need a strong and collective voice to continue to ensure that this process is fair and transparent and that workloads are safe and manageable.