A revived redundancy push across Adelaide's public hospitals is "completely irresponsible" as concerns persist over the coronavirus pandemic, nurses say.
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation says it has learned of plans to restart voluntary redundancies across health as part of a cost-cutting exercise implemented last year.
The process was put on hold during the COVID-19 emergency after 395 people applied, including 150 nurses.
The federation says about 377 packages still need to be taken.
Branch chief executive Elizabeth Dabars said it was difficult to understand why nurses would be let go despite the low number of virus cases.
"At the beginning of the pandemic, hospitals started a process of getting retired nurses back into the workforce," Ms Dabars said.
"Now that COVID is steady, they want to get rid of people, it seems unnecessary and reckless."
But Health Minister Stephen Wade said no staff involved the fight against the pandemic would be considered for redundancy.
He said the local hospitals were responsible for managing staff numbers and reiterated that all departures would be voluntary.
"Let's be clear these are expressions of interest, they are completely voluntary and once an expression of interest is lodged, it's up to the hospital to decide whether it makes sense in terms of their services going forward," he said.
"These are matters for the local health networks."
But opposition health spokesman Chris Picton said hospital staff had done an amazing job fighting the coronavirus and were being thanked with job cuts.
"There is still the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 to hit Australia. We need our health care heroes at the ready to protect the community if that was to eventuate," Mr Picton said.
"Axing staff leaves those remaining stretched to breaking point."
Ms Dabars said the federation wanted a formal commitment from health officials that redundancies would remain on hold until the virus emergency had passed.
Australian Associated Press