TODAY |

Hospitals around New Zealand prepare for junior doctors strike

Don't let the junior doctor strike stop you from getting medical treatment.

That's the message from district health boards as hospitals nationwide prepare for 48 hours of industrial action beginning tomorrow morning.

Around 3000 resident doctors will be off the job, affecting all DHBs apart from the West Coast District Health Board.

It comes after talks between the Resident Doctors' Association and DHBs broke down last week.

DHB national contingency planner Anne Aitcheson says there's concern that people who need assistance won't ask for it during the strike period.

But she says that "DHBs have spent the last two weeks re-rostering and cancelling scheduled work" in order to cater for the union action, assuring that they have enough staff to attend to the expected acute and critical presentations.

If you think your situation is minor Ms Aitcheson advises still seeing a GP.

The Resident Doctors' Association says DHBs are trying to take hard-won terms and conditions out of doctors contracts.

"At the moment if a resident moves to another employment it's by agreement, but under what they’re claiming they want to be able to send people anywhere and if refuse to go, they could loose their jobs," says union national secretary Deborah Powell.

"They’re also seeking to take the union out of the contract. The resident doctors want the association to act on their behalf, the employers would prefer the flexibility of talking directly to the RMOs.

"It was only a couple of years ago that we had to strike to get safer hours of work. Those provisions the employers are trying to claw back as well," Ms Powell said.

The two day strike action from junior doctors is set to be followed by another strike at the end of the month.

Ms Powell says they’re open to mediation with the DHBs before then.

Doctor with patient (file picture).
Doctor with patient (file picture). Source: istock.com