Thou­sands miss surgery as ju­nior doc­tors strike

The New Zealand Herald - - News - Emma Rus­sell

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.

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