Plunket is reviewing its proposal to cut clinical nurse consultant positions across the country after ‘strong advice’ from staff about the impact of the cuts.

The Health Sector Workers Network put out a press release this week stating that Plunket planned to cut all of its nine clinical nurse consultant (CNC) positions following a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) review.

Bram Kukler, Plunket’s Acting Chief of Operational Transformation, in a response to Nursing Review said it had told affected CNC staff this week that following “strong advice” it had agreed to “look more broadly at our system before making any decisions” but the “motivations” for the review still remained.

The CNC review is one of two Plunket reviews underway with the second a review of services and staff in Plunket’s Central region involving disestablishing 53 positions and replacing them with 34 positions. Well Child nurses are not involved in the Central review but NZNO has said the proposal does including moving from four clinical services manager (nurse leader) positions to two. Decisions are due on the Central review at the end of the month.

Kukler said both reviews were about “making sure we can deliver what families across New Zealand have told they need – today and into the future”.

“Like any organisation, and especially a charity that relies on donations from the generosity of New Zealanders, we have to make sure that our resources are used wisely and ultimately help to deliver on our future vision.”

Plunket appoints three high-flier nurse leaders

Meanwhile Plunket has recently taken on three high-flier nurse leaders into its executive team – including former Ministry of Health Chief Nursing Officer Dr Jane O’Malley who started this month as Plunket’s first chief nurse.

She will be working again with Dr Paul Watson, a former principal advisor in the Office of the Chief Nursing Officer, who left his most recent position as manager of workforce strategy and policy at Health Workforce New Zealand (HWNZ) to start last month as a national advisor in Plunket’s advisory and advocacy team.

Also just started with Plunket is Jane MacGeorge who has left her role as NZNO’s manager of nursing and professional services to become Plunket’s head of organisational capability.  MacGeorge has previously worked for Plunket as its National Clinical Advisory Manager for 14 months in 2010-11 and was director of nursing for Healthcare New Zealand for six years and clinical services director at Mary Potter Hospice for three years.

Claim that CNC review ‘superficial’

The Health Sector Workers Network press release said anonymous Plunket sources had described the CNC review process as “superficial and insincere”.

It had lead to PWC advising Plunket that there was “significant role overlap” between the CNC roles – leadership positions responsible for mentoring nurses and maintaining quality service standards – and other positions.

Kukler said the original CNC proposal had looked at the scope of the consultants role and a potential reduction in the number of roles.

“However, during the consultation strong advice emerged from staff that the interdependencies across our clinical system go further than we had originally anticipated and we needed to take a step back,” he said in a statement.

“We’ve listened to this advice and agree that we need to look more broadly at our system before making any decisions.

“The motivations for the change still exist so we will be working with our Clinical Nurse Consultants and other staff to work out the next steps.”

Kukler said PWC had provided Plunket with some support at several points in the clinical nurse consultant (CNC) review but Plunket was leading the review and consultation process.

He said that staff involved in the Central review had also given Plunket “plenty of well-considered feedback” on the original proposal and it was taking extra time to work through that feedback. A decision is expected at the end of March.


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