Thousands miss surgery as junior doctors strike
Thousands of people will be missing out on surgery today and tomorrow as junior doctors walk off the job.
From 7am, hospitals from around the country will be without 3300 junior doctors for 48 hours — around 80 per cent of DHB-employed junior doctors. A second 48-hour strike is planned for January 29-30.
The District Health Boards’ national contingency planner, Anne Aitcheson, said non-urgent, planned surgeries and some outpatient appointments would be postponed and rescheduled as a result of the strike action.
Aitcheson said she could not confirm exactly how many surgeries had been deferred as a result, as the data was still being collected. However it would be thousands, she said.
For some patients it will be “considerable weeks” before they head off again for surgery, she said.
“It isn’t like a one-off event where we can plan the resumption — we need to continue to monitor it and ensure we are delivering acute services first.”
She said patients will be kept informed and all affected patients had been contacted directly by phone, text or letter.
Aitcheson said with roughly 80 per cent of junior doctors striking, senior doctors were being called in to work extra shifts over the 48-hour period.
An Auckland District Health Board spokeswoman said the DHB promised patient safety will stay a priority but non-urgent and nonacute services are rescheduled.
She said the DHB will continue to provide emergency and life preserving services.