New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants have voted to strike, significantly impacting services at Dunedin, Southland and Lakes District hospitals.

Southern DHB and all other health boards are actioning contingency plans for the strike from 7am Thursday 12 July until 7am Friday 13 July, to ensure quality and safety of patient care and to minimise disruption wherever possible.

Non-urgent patient appointments and elective surgeries will be rescheduled during this time as a result of the NZNO strike action.

Patients whose appointments and procedures are being postponed will be contacted directly by phone by Southern DHB staff.

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. Where possible, however, they should contact their general practice or urgent doctors for non-emergencies. Healthline – 0800-611 116 – continues to be available for medical advice, and 111 for emergencies.

“We sincerely regret having to defer any appointments and apologise to affected patients. Staff will work to rebook patients as quickly as possible, but it will take time,” says Chris Fleming, Southern DHB Chief Executive. “I’d like to thank our clinical and other staff and especially our contingency planning team for their hard work preparing for this strike and for ensuring that essential services are available during the strike.”

If patients need to check on their appointment, they can call the number on their appointment letters. If possible, quote the NHI # which is usually in the upper right hand corner of the letter.