1600 Te Whatu Ora staff 'potentially' on chopping block in bid to 'streamline teams'

Te Whatu Ora, Health New Zealand is looking to cut 1600 of its staff, including management and leadership roles as it looks to "streamline teams".

A Te Whatu Ora spokesperson told Newshub the organisation is entering the next stage of consultation - where it proposes to streamline corporate or back office roles to "better support frontline care".

As a result 1600 of its staff could "potentially" be on the chopping block which will impact people in management and leadership roles and teams in back-office functions. 

It comes after Te Whatu Ora merged with 29 other entities under one Crown entity in 2022, which included 20 District Health Boards, eight shared service entities and Manatu Hauora functions.

Te Whatu Ora chief executive Fepulea'i Margie Apa said the potential job cuts are a part of "unifying, simplifying and integrating its team of teams for the benefit of whānau and communities".

"When we were merged on 1 July 2022, we put in place regional leadership teams to get through 2022 winter and COVID surges to ensure we did not disrupt care to patients and communities. This next change proposes to simplify how we work by streamlining teams that do similar work and reduce duplication across the country."

Margie Apa said Te Whatu Ora took on more than 270 tier 2 executive leaders from the previous 29 entities, and the proposed cuts look to reduce executive management to 110 tier 2 and three leaders. 

"As a whole, around 1600 people are potentially impacted. The first areas to go through the change process are Commissioning, Finance, Service Improvement and Innovation and the National Public Health Service."

Margie Apa said Te Whatu Ora is "moving ahead" with the next phase of changes so it's prepared for winter, and best "placed with most permanent leadership structures in place".

"We also want to provide certainty to teams about how we will be working together in the future," the chief executive said. 

"We are genuinely committed to listening to our staff's feedback, so won’t be providing further detail on the proposed structures at this time. This is a consultation and what is proposed could change post-consultation."

Margie Apa added each consultation will run for four weeks and decisions on the new structures are expected to be finalised in early June.