Junior doctors to go on longest strike yet over rosters

Striking junior doctors say they hope an upcoming five-day strike will help finally settle their row with district health boards.

Members of the Resident Doctors' Association will walk off the job early Monday morning at all public hospitals except in Canterbury.

Canterbury has been excluded because of the recent terror attacks.

It's the fifth strike by the doctors over a failure by both sides to agree on proposed changes to the doctors' employment contract.

The main sticking point is that district health boards want hospital chief executives to have the final say over working arrangements - including rosters - rather than the union head office.

But the Resident Doctors' Association say the boards are trying to roll back safer roster provisions they agreed to two years ago, and it is unacceptable.

Resident Doctors' Association senior advocate David Munro said DHBs could prevent the strike going ahead if they wanted to.

"The opportunity to settle the agreement remains at any stage if the DHBs want to turn up and step back from their belligerent position which they've had since the 7th of March," Mr Munro said.

"They're giving no indication of that at this stage, so the RMOs [doctors] have been clear with us that a one-week strike is what they want to do to make sure the DHBs understand that they're very serious about defending their Mecca."

Urgent facilitation will occur, but not until after the next strike.

However, District Health Boards spokesperson Dr Peter Bramley said more strikes won't end the row.

"What's going to solve this is to actually keep talking ... we think there is a constructive way forward that doesn't require us to go down such a severe path as a five-day strike period which will have a significant impact."

"What we do need to see is the ability, at a local level, to make decision about the rosters that will support the best care and the best teamwork and the best training environment. At the moment, it's a one size fits all approach."

Karen Brown

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The union says doctors are tired of unsafe hours and working conditions. Source: 1 NEWS