New Zealand Resident Doctors’ Association (NZRDA) has confirmed members will take strike action from 7am Tuesday 17th January until 8am Friday 20th January 2017.
This 73-hour strike affects 18 DHBs across the country and will impact the provision of healthcare services, principally the number of outpatient appointments and non-urgent elective surgeries that can be performed.
Southern DHB has been contingency planning since the junior doctor announced their plans to strike on December 30th. It is the second time the NZRDA has taken strike action in four months, impacting thousands of medical appointments and treatments across New Zealand.
“The safety and well-being of our patients is our paramount concern and we are well prepared to manage medical services during the strike period,” says Southern DHB Interim Chief Executive, Chris Fleming. “Our hospitals are open, our emergency departments are open, and urgent and acute care, including cancer treatments, ICU and maternity care, will proceed during the strike period.”
Patients whose appointments are postponed are being contacted directly by Southern DHB, either by phone or letter. If a patient has not been contacted, their appointments are going ahead as scheduled.
If patients have any questions, they can call the telephone number on their original referral/appointment letter. It is helpful if they can have the NHI number available, which can usually be found at the top of the referral letter. Phone lines are open from 9am - 5pm.
There are 271 junior doctors employed by Southern DHB. It is not yet known how many will participate in the strike.
“We deeply regret the inconvenience the RMO strike is causing the people in our communities and the public should know that we are doing everything we can feasibly do to try to resolve the impasse, and our senior doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and Southern DHB support staff are working to provide the best care possible under the circumstances,” Mr. Fleming said. “We do not yet know how many appointments, treatments and surgeries will have to be postponed, but we do know that this industrial action will have an impact well beyond the three days of the strike in terms of access to services for our patients. It’s a problem all strike-affected DHBs are facing.”
Mr Fleming said despite the strike, people should seek medical help if it is required. In addition to their own GPs and urgent doctors clinics, HealthLine 0800 611 116 can provide medical advice. In cases of emergency, 111 is still available.
About the RMO Strike
The country’s DHB Shared Services have been in bargaining discussions since January 2016 with NZRDA to renew the national collective agreement for Resident Medical Officers (RMOs).
All DHBs put quality and safety of patient care and their staff at the forefront and very much want to support their RMOs, improve their salaries and reduce their hours.
For more information contact, Moira Finn, Senior Communications Advisor, Southern DHB. firstname.lastname@example.org. 027 836 4718, (03) 476-9830.