Elec­tive surg­eries cut back dur­ing ju­nior doc­tors strike

Manawatu Standard - - News -

Palmer­ston North Hos­pi­tal sur­geons are keep­ing non­emer­gency surg­eries to a min­i­mum to re­duce pres­sure on ser­vices as ju­nior doc­tors strike.

The New Zealand Res­i­dent Doc­tors’ As­so­ci­a­tion has been locked in a year-long dis­pute with dis­trict health boards over the terms of the res­i­dent doc­tors’ col­lec­tive em­ploy­ment agree­ment. Two days of me­di­ated bar­gain­ing hit a wall on Thurs­day, mean­ing at least 2000 doc­tors across the coun­try will go on a 48-hour strike at 7am to­day, with a sec­ond strike two weeks later.

Mid­cen­tral Dis­trict Health Board act­ing chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health Jeff Brown said there had been daily plan­ning meet­ings to keep things run­ning as smoothly as pos­si­ble, but ser­vices such as elec­tive surgery would be af­fected. Emer­gen­cies and pa­tients in crit­i­cal con­di­tion were the top pri­or­ity, he said.

‘‘We have sub­se­quently agreed to per­form some elec­tive surgery cases [dur­ing the strikes], but only when they do not im­pact on our abil­ity to de­liver care safely.’’

Out­pa­tient ser­vices were also ex­am­ined to en­sure as many staff as pos­si­ble were avail­able to cover the emer­gency de­part­ment and in­pa­tient wards, in­clud­ing peo­ple in post-op­er­a­tion care.

Pa­tients whose ap­point­ments are af­fected by the strikes are be­ing con­tacted to ar­range new times. Those not con­tacted should go to the hos­pi­tal as nor­mal for their ap­point­ment or surgery.

De­spite the dis­rup­tion to pa­tient ser­vices, the New Zealand Nurses’ Or­gan­i­sa­tion is ex­press­ing sol­i­dar­ity with the strik­ing doc­tors.

Nurses Or­gan­i­sa­tion in­dus­trial ad­vi­sor Les­ley Harry said health boards were in­sist­ing on a worse deal than the pre­vi­ous col­lec­tive agree­ment.

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