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Yesterday, for the third time in six weeks, doctors who are members of the New Zealand Resident Doctors' Association union, stopped work for 48 hours.
The dispute between the RDA and district health boards, centres on proposed rostering changes.
DHBs want to vary existing ''safe staffing'' rosters to allow greater flexibility, while the RDA opposes any alteration to work conditions.
Hundreds of appointments and operations were affected by the first two strikes.
The SDHB postponed many procedures planned for yesterday and today.
''Once again our staff have gone above and beyond to limit the impact of this third RDA strike on patients and their whanau,'' SDHB chief executive Chris Fleming said.
''Both Dunedin and Southland Hospitals are very busy ... [but] our hospitals remain open and contingency plans are in place to ensure essential and emergency services are not affected.''
''We are very committed to continue to work with the other DHBs and the RDA to find a solution that will work for all parties,'' Mr Fleming said.
''We are hopeful that an agreement can be reached before the next strike is scheduled to take place.''
Dunedin Hospital house officer Rosa Tobin Stickings - on the picket line yesterday as a local RDA organiser - agreed with Mr Fleming that no-one wanted a fourth strike.
''I signed up for a career of looking after patients and helping people who are sick. I didn't want to be fighting to have a reasonable working life,'' she said.
''We are always optimistic that this will be our last strike and we won't have to do it again.
''We don't take striking lightly ... we don't like to walk away from the job.''
The strike is due to end at 8am tomorrow.