Nurses angry over job snub

Cathy O'Leary Medical Editor

Dozens of nurses at Swan District Hospital are angry they were not offered jobs or because they face reduced hours when Midland public hospital opens next year.

Letters were sent this week to nurses who applied for jobs at the 307-bed hospital, to be operated by St John of God Health Care under a $5 billion 23-year contract with the State Government.

The Catholic healthcare operator has come under fire in recent months for recruiting nurses from Ireland when local staff say they are not being guaranteed jobs.

St John of God Perth Northern Hospitals executive director Lachlan Henderson confirmed yesterday that some nurses were not offered jobs in the first round of recruiting, which was open to staff from Swan District and SJOG.

He said more than 500 staff at Swan District had been offered positions, making up 90 per cent of the offers.

"Four out of five Swan District Hospital nurses who applied in phase one were successful and of the remainder, many were appointable and may be offered positions," Dr Henderson said.

He acknowledged some successful candidates were offered fewer hours than requested because SJOG was trying to accommodate as many people as possible within the positions on offer at this early stage.

He said the hospital was a year away and more positions could be offered to Swan District staff once the WA Health Department confirmed expected patient numbers early next year.

A Swan District Hospital spokeswoman said alternative positions would be sought for permanent staff not offered jobs, or staff could take redundancy packages recently announced by the State Government.

But Australian Nursing Federation WA secretary Mark Olson said the Government had misled nurses into thinking everything would be fine when the Midland hospital was privately run.

"Well things aren't OK," Mr Olson said.

"A significant number of nurses just this week have been told they won't have a job at the new hospital.

"We know that nurses at Royal Perth and Fremantle hospitals are getting knocked back for jobs at Fiona Stanley, so what hope is there for Midland nurses?"