Five-day doctors' strike will have 'considerable impact'

Photo: ODT files
An announcement from Southern District Health Board said the full week of job action would have "considerable impact". Photo: ODT files

New Zealand Registered Doctors' Association members have decided to strike for five days, causing disruption to southern hospital services.

The strike will run from 8am April 29 to 8am May 4.

An announcement from Southern District Health Board said the full week of job action would have "considerable impact" and was compounded by the fact the strike followed four two-day strikes in recent months.

People whose planned surgery or appointments were postponed would be contacted by phone, text or letter, and acute services -  including urgent surgeries, cancer treatments, renal dialysis, most maternity services, and intensive care, would continue.

Emergency departments would stay open.

"Patient health and safety is our foremost concern, and we're working to accommodate as many planned surgeries and clinics as possible," the statement said.

"Specialist senior medical officers and some resident medical officers doctors will be working during the strike, but unfortunately we won't know how many RDA members will show up to work until the strike days, and because of this uncertainty, some electives and outpatients clinics will have to be postponed as a precaution."

The association remained committed to working with other district health boards and the RDA to find a solution that would work for all parties.

"We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding and I especially want to thank Southern DHB staff who are working extra hard providing care to patients and supporting one another under particularly challenging circumstances.

"Because we will have reduced clinical staff during the strike, we encourage people to help us to keep ED for emergencies and seek help for non-urgent matters at your GP or pharmacist, the urgent doctors or speak to a registered nurse by calling Healthline on 0800 611 116."

For critical and life threatening emergencies, dial 111.

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