Doc­tors want sta­tus quo re­stored

The Timaru Herald - - NEWS - Samesh Mo­han­lall

A ju­nior doc­tor at Ti­maru Hos­pi­tal says a two-day na­tional strike by New Zealand Res­i­dent Doc­tors’ As­so­ci­a­tion (RDA) mem­bers will ben­e­fit the com­mu­nity and med­i­cal staff in the long term.

Dr James Strick­land will join about 3000 of his col­leagues na­tion­wide on the 48-hour strike from 7am to­day af­ter talks be­tween his union and Dis­trict Health Boards (DHBs) broke down.

He said the RDA was look­ing to re­store what was best for all role play­ers in the in­dus­try, es­pe­cially de­liv­ery of qual­ity ser­vice to its pa­tients.

‘‘We are only ask­ing for what he had be­fore.

‘‘By in­creas­ing the hours worked, it af­fects the qual­ity of care,’’ Strick­land said re­fer­ring to the claim that Res­i­dent Med­i­cal Of­fi­cers were re­quired to work up to 16 hours in a sin­gle shift.

‘‘The DHBs’ pull back is like hav­ing the car­pet pulled from un­der us.’’

He said about half the ju­nior doc­tors at the hos­pi­tal will take part in the in­dus­trial ac­tion, but the num­bers were not suf­fi­cient for a picket.

Mean­while, the South Can­ter­bury Dis­trict Health Board is work­ing to en­sure it con­tin­ues to pro­vide safe care dur­ing the strike pe­riod.

‘‘Our pri­or­ity, as al­ways, is safe and ap­pro­pri­ate care for pa­tients,’’ chief ex­ec­u­tive Nigel Trainor said.

‘‘We have con­tin­gency plans in place to en­sure emer­gency and es­sen­tial ser­vices are avail­able to those who need them.’’

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