Health cuts spark anger

A PROTEST rally is being organised for this weekend in response to the axing of staff at The Tweed Hospital.

In a move that has sparked anger, the Rees Government announced at the weekend that 29 jobs would be cut at the hospital as part of a wider scaling back of jobs within the North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS).

New South Wales Health Minister John Della Bosca said 400 full-time jobs in nursing, cleaning and management would be axed from the struggling 23-hospital service.

The State Government had previously ordered the health service to make a reported $200 million in savings over the next four years.

Tweed MP Geoff Provest, outraged over the cuts which he warned would cause unnecessary deaths, has planned a protest rally for this Saturday from 1PM DST at The Tweed Hospital.

"Labor's razor gang was at The Tweed Hospital where staff were told 29 jobs are to be axed. I am livid," Mr Provest said.

"This is the ultimate Labor betrayal of the Tweed."

Reviews of the hospital reveal it is constantly running at more than 100 per cent capacity.

"If Labor goes ahead with these cuts, Tweed residents will die unnecessarily. It is as simple and tragic as that," Mr Provest said.

Mr Provest urged everyone to attend the rally at The Tweed Hospital at 1PM DST on Saturday November 29.

"The Tweed Hospital is not just 'State Government business', it is everyone's business," Mr Provest said.

A NCAHS spokesman said there would be no change in their $717.7 million budget.

"It is not possible to say exactly by how much the NCAHS total staff of around 6500 will be reduced," the spokesman said. "There will be no forced redundancies. It is too early to speculate about how many voluntary redundancies may be offered."

A spokesman for Mr Della Bosca said any money saved by the NCAHS with the job cuts would be kept within the service.

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