THIRTY-FIVE Cardiff workers will lose their jobs and their union estimates $2 million could be lost to the Hunter economy following the privatisation of medical supply services to state hospitals.
The state government has awarded a tender for the warehousing and delivery of hospital supplies and equipment to a company that trades as OneLink.
Previously the service was run by the medical distribution wing of NSW Health at five warehouses across the state, including at Cardiff, Wagga and Orange.
Under the changes, the service will operate out of a single warehouse in western Sydney.
Health Services Union NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said stopwork meetings would be held on Wednesday where members would decide whether to take industrial action.
NSW Health’s chief procurement officer David Gates confirmed the 35 Cardiff workers – who work as storemen, drivers and in warehouse supervisory roles – ‘‘may’’ be affected by the change.
“A number of options are available to permanent employees and NSW Health will continue to work with them to find the most suitable outcome for them,” he said.
He said options included working in western Sydney, being redeployed in another role or taking a voluntary redundancy.
Mr Hayes slammed the move, calling it a “slap in the face” to regional NSW.
“I think it’s an outrageous move on behalf of the government because regional NSW requires jobs,” he said. “We estimate it will take $2million out of the Newcastle economy.
“It’s also a commitment to big business as opposed to supplying appropriate public health services.
“Many questions remain to be answered about how the selected corporation plans to realise any cost savings without reducing employment conditions or the services available to the public.”
Mr Hayes said that going from five warehouses to one would “create huge logistical issues” for hospitals and patients who needed to access medical supplies in a timely fashion.
But Mr Gates said the centralised system was more efficient.
“Technology has changed warehousing and distribution processes in recent years so we are adopting a centralised service to deliver a more efficient service at a lower cost,” he said.
Shadow health minister Walt Secord said the Liberals and Nationals were pushing an aggressive agenda of privatising, outsourcing and slashing services within public hospitals.