Families and whānau encouraged to support loved ones as DHBs nationwide prepare for strike tomorrow

Contingency planning for tomorrow’s NZNO strike of nurses, health care assistants and midwives is well advanced, with the focus on ensuring those patients who need to be in hospital tomorrow are safe, Southern DHB CEO Chris Fleming says.

Families and whanau of those whose loved ones are in hospital are reminded that services are operating with reduced staff, and any assistance they can provide will be greatly appreciated.

“Support with making loved ones comfortable in their bed or chair, keeping their environment tidy and providing assistance with meals and drinks would be extremely helpful,” says Mr Fleming.

“Family and whānau will not be asked to undertake any clinical treatments or do anything that should be done by a health professional only.”

Southern DHB will not be observing visiting hours during the strike so family members can be present throughout the day.

Contingency planning has seen significant work to ensure the hospitals can manage essential and acute care during the strike period.

Surgeries and outpatient appointments have been not booked or rescheduled to reduce demand on hospital services across Southern DHB during the strike period.

Some patients with higher nursing needs are being transferred to aged residential care facilities and rural hospitals to ensure they receive the care they need over this time.

Fleming says he acknowledges the impact of the strike on those requiring care. “We thank everyone for their support and understanding as we prioritise patient safety at this time.”

Critical services will be operating

Our hospitals remain open. During the strike, Dunedin and Southland hospitals will continue to provide essential and urgent services including emergency departments, acute surgery, intensive care, cancer treatments, maternity services, renal dialysis patient retrievals, and acute wards at reduced capacity.

Lakes District Hospital will provide ED services for essential and urgent cases. Rural hospitals in Gore, Balclutha, Oamaru, Ranfurly, and Clyde, as well as general practices and most other health services across the district will not be directly affected by the strike action.

In case of emergencies, patients should go to the ED or dial 111. Where possible, however, they should contact their pharmacy, general practice or urgent doctors for non-emergencies. Healthline – 0800-611 116 – continues to be available for medical advice.