About 35 jobs across the Hawke's Bay District Health Board are being cut.
In a memo yesterday to Hawke's Bay District Health Board's (HBDHB) older persons, mental health, and allied health services' leaders service manager Allison Stevenson announced 35 staff cuts across all disciplines, New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) organiser for the HBDHB Stephanie Thomas said.
The memo also said there would be a "sinking lid" on all recruitment and no new positions could be created, unless the position came with new funding, Ms Thomas said.
However, HBDHB chief executive Kevin Snee said the memo to staff had been taken out of context.
"The DHB is looking at a number of ways where it can make savings so it can meet its financial budgets and complete capital projects such as developments in Wairoa, new renal and endoscopy suite, improved rheumatology service, a new theatre and a number of other projects."
The quality and productivity improvements might impact on jobs which would result a very small number of job losses across the DHB, he said.
"Which had been estimated to be about 35, but at this stage nothing had been finalised or determined," he said.
On behalf of the national nurses union Ms Thomas said staff were angry and stressed at the proposed cuts.
"They are very concerned about what these proposals will mean for patient safety and for their own ability to provide safe care," she said.
The nurses union said Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) nurses had also been warned job cuts were coming their way.
The BOPDHB signalled it had a deficit of somewhere between $8-$12 million and had been instructed by the government to make job cuts, Newstalk ZB reported.
NZNO chief executive Geoff Annals said the Hawke's Bay and Bay of Plenty job losses made a mockery of Health Minister Tony Ryall's mantra that no frontline jobs would go.
"We are hearing of nursing job cuts around the country, in both hospitals and the community. Frontline nursing jobs are going, as the government puts the pressure on DHBs to meet budget targets. What this will mean is greater health costs down the track, as people did not get the care they needed, when they needed it," Mr Annals said.