Earlier today, the PSA put out a release about a Waikato DHB proposal to review its current 4 & 2 roster system in Mental Health. Please attribute these quotes in response to Brett Paradine, interim chief operating officer, Waikato DHB
Waikato DHB engaged with both the NZ Public Service Association (PSA) and the NZ Nurses Organisation (NZNO), as both unions have affected members who work 4 & 2 rosters in our Mental Health service.
NZNO and the district health boards nationally have made considerable progress in implementing rostering tools that enable staff numbers to reflect both patient acuity and patient numbers.
Such tools and the roster designs which come about from their use demonstrate that they will deliver enhanced patient and staff safety.
In addition rosters based on patient acuity and numbers provide for a more efficient and effective health service.
The purpose of the 4 & 2 project brief is not to cut costs but to look at the current 4 & 2 roster system – which has been in use in mental health nationally for many years without significant change – to see whether it could be improved for the benefit of patients and staff.
We invited the PSA and the NZNO to be part of that project on behalf of its members; to date only the NZNO accepted our offer.
Due to the PSA’s response, we sought assurances that such engagement will be in good faith.
However, rather than elect to provide such an assurance, the PSA‘s response is via the media. We are disappointed that when it has always been our intention to work closely with the PSA that they have elected for sound bites rather than pursue a framework that bases conclusions on evidence and best practice.
We note from the release today that the PSA continues to say we have refused to engage with them in a meaningful way which in our view provides a misleading picture to its members.
We do not believe the 4&2 roster, as it currently operates, recognises patient numbers or acuity.
However, Waikato DHB will not make any significant change to the 4&2 roster, or remove it, without the opportunity for meaningful consultation from all parties into:
- Establishing whether the 4&2 roster is the best roster in terms of safety and productivity.
- If not; what roster templates are more suitable for the needs of patients, staff, and the wider organisation?
- Is a singular roster template necessary for all areas of the Mental Health and Addiction Services
- If there is to be a new roster implemented, what should such a roster look like?
- Do the intended benefits of any new roster outweigh the potential risks to the current delivery of services that may be introduced as result of any change to the operating environment.
The PSA says the 4&2 roster is the best roster for ensuring patient and staff safety and is the fairest and healthiest roster.
As part of the on-going consultation process, we will ask the PSA to provide the supporting evidence to justify such statements.
If those comments are established then it would be foolhardy of the DHB to overlook such evidence.
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