Doc­tors to strike twice this month

Weekend Herald - - News - Vaimoana Ta­paleao

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.

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