Ju­nior doc’s on strike now

South Waikato News - - Out & About - FLORENCE KERR

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.’’

FAIR­FAX NZ

Ju­nior doc­tors across New Zealand, Waikato Hos­pi­tal in­cluded, will strike for bet­ter work hours from Janaury 17 to 20.

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