Southern DHB is preparing for the 48 hour strike by members of the New Zealand Residents’ Doctors Association (NZRDA) union, due to take place from 8am Tuesday 29 January until 8am Thursday 31 January.

Patients who have surgeries and procedures booked on the days of next weeks’ strike should still come to their appointments unless they are contacted directly by phone, text or letter by Southern DHB staff to say their appointment is being postponed.  

“Unfortunately, this action will again be disruptive to the health care services we are able to provide to our patients and whānau, but patient safety remains our number one consideration.

“We’re pleased that mediation talks will be undertaken this week in the hopes of averting a strike, but in the meantime we have to continue to contingency plan for a possible strike,” says Southern DHB Chief Executive, Chris Fleming.

The strike will involve a full withdrawal of labour and will impact health care services across the district including those at Wakari Hospital, Dunedin Hospital, Southland Hospital, and all community based health services where Resident Medical Officers (RMOs) employed by SDHB are working. All 20 DHBs across the country are affected by the strike action.

Staff are working hard to ensure as many surgeries and appointments as possible are accommodated. The DHB is still determining how many planned surgeries and procedures will have to be postponed.

Rosters are being finalised and both specialist Senior Medical Officers (SMOs) and some RMOs will be working during the strike. Not all RMOs are members of the NZRDA union, and not all union members are striking, so the number of resident doctors that will work on the days of the strike is not yet known.

 “It is important for the public to know that our hospitals are open during the strike and we are continuing to provide essential and urgent services including emergency departments, acute surgery, intensive care, cancer treatments, maternity services and renal dialysis,” Mr Fleming says.

“We regret the inconvenience the strike may be causing our patients and whanau and appreciate their patience and understanding during this time.  We also appreciate the efforts our staff are making to ensure we continue to meet the complexities of providing patient care during this strike period.”

During the strike if you or whānau member has a medical emergency call 111.  For non-urgent medical care, patients are encouraged to make an appointment with their family doctor or Urgent Doctors, or call Healthline 0800 611 116 for free health advice 24 hours a day.