29 Jul 2010

Three-hour trip looms if Taihape talks fail - union

3:56 pm on 29 July 2010

Families of Taihape rest home and hospital patients face three-hour round trips to visit their relatives if last-minute talks to save the town's health services fail, says the union for nurses.

The Otaihape Health Trust has lost $1 million in two years, and is two days away from insolvency.

Four unions have declared no confidence in management over cost-cutting proposals, which include a call for a 30% pay cut for about 20 nurses.

Otaihape Health Trust directors will decide whether to continue trading after urgent negotiations with the unions on Thursday.

Trust chairman Jock Stratton says he cannot reveal what broke the deadlock and brought the parties back to the table.

The Nurses Organisation says Whanganui District Health Board is already making contingency plans

Organiser Rob Haultain understands the district health board is looking for patient beds, probably in Whanganui or around Palmerston North, which are each an hour and a half from Taihape.