CUTS to the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District's budget would affect the region's most vulnerable, Health Services Union Illawarra organiser Graham Conroy said yesterday.
He said the sick and the frail were the ultimate losers in the NSW government's plan to cut $3 billion from the state's overall health budget.
The state government confirmed yesterday that $775 million would be cut over four years as part of a "labour expense cap", while another $2.2 billion would be slashed in "efficiency savings" redirected to frontline services.
Nurses have been "quarantined" from the cap but support staff are not exempt.
"From what I've been told the Illawarra Shoalhaven area is looking at a $4 million cut to its budget," Mr Conroy said.
"I can't see how they can make any cuts to support services as they are already cut to the bone.
"People think of doctors and nurses when they think of hospitals, but everyone from the cleaner to the social worker to the radiologist plays their part. The machine won't work if one of them is taken away.
"The government says this will not affect frontline workers, but it has to," he said. "And ultimately it will mean that the people of the Illawarra are not going to get a first-class health service."
Health Minister Jillian Skinner said local health districts were responsible for delivering the labour expenses cap which this year amounted to $89 million.