Doctors to strike twice this month
Junior doctors employed by district health boards will strike for a second two-day period this month.
The industrial action is set to disrupt treatment for non-urgent patients, with scores of specialist appointments and elective surgeries now being rescheduled.
The NZ Resident Doctors’ Association (NZRA) yesterday released plans to strike between January 29 and 30.
The group earlier confirmed that a 48-hour period strike would take place next week from 7am on Tuesday until 7am on Thursday after mediation with DHBs failed.
The association claims DHBs are pursuing claw-backs which would remove the protection of the union and expose junior doctors to disruptive and dangerous work conditions.
The association’s senior advocate, David Munro, said: “The [residential medical officers] are more determined than ever not to accept clawbacks to their terms and conditions.
“This vote for a second strike testifies to their resolve. The RMOs are clearly not going to be backing down.”
However, the DHB group said they “strongly dispute” claims made by the union about bargaining discussions related to the collective agreement for junior doctors.
DHB spokesman Dr Peter Bramley said it was untrue for the union to say they wanted to move junior doctors around the country at will.
He said DHBs would prefer affected employees make decisions about rosters locally, rather than the union.
Hospitals and medical clinics — and patients, as a result — will be affected some way or another because of the strikes. Contingency plans will be put in place to help keep things running smoothly.
However, hospitals are urging people to keep the emergency department free for genuine emergencies and to seek treatment from a GP or an accident and medical clinic if injuries or illnesses are less serious.
The Auckland DHB will provide emergency and life-preserving services on the planned strike days, a spokeswoman said.
“This includes all acute services and those services defined as life-preserving (eg cancer treatments). Our message to the public is if you need our care, we are here.”
Non-urgent and non-acute services are being rescheduled.