Rostering big issue for striking junior doctors
Junior doctors are walking off the wards to preserve a number of protections they say are under threat.
The doctors, known as resident medical officers (RMOs), will embark on the first of two 48-hour strikes from 7am today as negotiations between district health boards and the largest junior doctors’ union, the New Zealand Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA), falter.
As a result, scores of nonessential appointments, procedures and clinics have been postponed across the country, however life-preserving care and emergency treatment will not be affected.
Hutt Hospital senior house officer Dr Will Blackburne said that while the decision to strike was not taken lightly, doctors felt they had to draw a line in the sand.
‘‘We are still working 10 days in a row with at least a couple of 16-hour days within that 10-day period and that’s what we agreed to as a safer alternative to the previous rostering system.
‘‘The DHBs still aren’t very happy with that.
‘‘They would prefer us to go back to working 12 days in a row but we think it’s certainly safer for us and for our patients to work in the current system.’’
DHB spokesman Dr Peter Bramley said the current rostering system did not offer flexibility and the ‘‘one-size-fitsall’’ approach adopted in 2016 did not suit all hospitals.
It had created a number of ‘‘unintended consequences’’ including staffing difficulties and challenges in maximising RMO training opportunities.