Junior doc’s on strike now
Some 500 patient appointments in the Waikato are being postponed due to a second round of strike action by junior doctors.
The Resident Doctors Association, the union that represents junior doctors, has tried to negotiate safer work hours for its members, but negotiations have failed, prompting further action from January 17 to 20.
The Waikato DHB is rescheduling around 400 outpatient appointments and around 100 inpatient appointments in mental health clinics and nonemergency surgery.
It will enable senior doctors to focus on caring for patients in the emergency department, intensive care and maternity, the DHB said in a press release.
The statement says they were ‘‘forced’’ into the decision.
One junior doctor said the DHB is using press releases to ‘‘spin’’ the narrative.
‘‘They are attempting to win public backing by saying their hand is being forced,’’ he said.
‘‘All we want is to have a life outside of work. To stop working crazy hours. They must understand that it is vital for our patients to have a doctor who is well rested.’’
Waikato DHB employs 420 junior doctors, mostly working out of Waikato Hospital. About 70 per cent are members of the junior doctors’ union. As part of contingency planning the hospital is planning for all of these members to strike.
Last year, one junior doctor said she worked 10 to 15-hour days, 12 days in a row.
‘‘We've invested heavily in our junior doctors over the last few years.’’
Junior doctors across New Zealand, Waikato Hospital included, will strike for better work hours from Janaury 17 to 20.