DHB ju­nior doc­tors plan sec­ond two-day strike

Hawke's Bay Today - - Nation -

Ju­nior doc­tors em­ployed by dis­trict health boards have an­nounced they will strike for a sec­ond two-day pe­riod this month.

The NZ Res­i­dent Doc­tors’ As­so­ci­a­tion (NZRA) re­leased plans yes­ter­day af­ter­noon to strike be­tween Jan­uary 29 and 30.

It comes a day after the group con­firmed that a 48-hour pe­riod strike would take place next week start­ing at 7am on Tues­day un­til 7am on Thurs­day; after me­di­a­tion with DHBs failed to come up with any­thing they agreed on.

The as­so­ci­a­tion claims DHBs are pur­su­ing claw backs in terms and pro­vi­sions of the Mul­tiEm­ployer Col­lec­tive Agree­ment.

NZRA said the DHB team’s claw backs would re­move the pro­tec­tion of the union and ex­pose vul­ner­a­ble ju­nior doc­tors to dis­rup­tive and dan­ger­ous work con­di­tions.

The as­so­ci­a­tion’s se­nior ad­vo­cate, David Munro, said: “The [res­i­den­tial med­i­cal of­fi­cers] are more de­ter­mined than ever not to ac­cept claw backs to their terms and con­di­tions.

“This vote for a sec­ond strike tes­ti­fies to their re­solve. The RMOs are clearly not go­ing to be back­ing down.”

NZRA pres­i­dent, Dr Court­ney Brown, said the DHB group’s po­si­tion meant ju­nior doc­tors could be moved to any hos­pi­tal in the coun­try as dis­trict health boards see fit.

“RMOs could be re­quired to work for more than 16 hours in a row — with­out guar­an­tee of rest or safety,” she said. “RMOs could lose ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing, jeop­ar­dis­ing the qual­ity of care we are able to de­liver to our pa­tients and a whole lot more.”

Hos­pi­tals and med­i­cal clin­ics — and pa­tients, as a re­sult — will be af­fected some way or an­other be­cause of the strikes. Con­tin­gency plans will be put in place to help things run smoothly.

How­ever, hos­pi­tals are urg­ing peo­ple to keep emer­gency de­part­ments free for gen­uine emer­gen­cies and go to a GP or an ac­ci­dent and med­i­cal clinic if in­juries or ill­nesses are less se­ri­ous.

The Auck­land DHB will con­tinue to pro­vide emer­gency and life-pre­serv­ing ser­vices on the planned strike days, a spokes­woman said.

“This in­cludes all acute ser­vices and those ser­vices de­fined as lifep­re­serv­ing [eg: can­cer treat­ments]. Our mes­sage to the pub­lic is if you need our care, we are here.”

Non-ur­gent and non-acute ser­vices, how­ever, are be­ing resched­uled. Those pa­tients due for an ap­point­ment or surgery and who have not been con­tacted are be­ing told to at­tend their ap­point­ments as sched­uled.

Waitem­ata¯ DHB di­rec­tor of hos­pi­tal ser­vices Cath Cronin re­as­sured pa­tients that they would be pro­vid­ing safe and high-qual­ity care to both in­pa­tients and emer­gency pa­tients over these strike pe­ri­ods.

“The num­ber of staff par­tic­i­pat­ing in the strike is yet to be con­firmed, but our plan­ning cov­ers all sce­nar­ios,” she said.

“Some pa­tient pro­ce­dures and ap­point­ments may need to be resched­uled. If pa­tients have not heard from us, they should present to have their pro­ce­dure or at­tend their ap­point­ment.”

Fur­ther south, the Coun­ties Manukau DHB says a large num­ber of its health ser­vices were un­af­fected.

Health chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer Dr Glo­ria John­son said the strikes in­evitably meant that some nonur­gent pa­tient ap­point­ments and elec­tive surgery may need to be resched­uled and would be con­tact­ing those peo­ple af­fected.

“We apol­o­gise to our com­mu­nity who have been im­pacted by this in­dus­trial ac­tion. It is an un­for­tu­nate and un­avoid­able con­se­quence of the strike ac­tion un­der­taken by those of our staff who are mem­bers of the NZ Res­i­dent Doc­tors As­so­ci­a­tion.”

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