Strike over but another still to come

Members of the Resident Doctors Association union and supporters picket near Dunedin Hospital...
Members of the Resident Doctors Association union and supporters picket near Dunedin Hospital. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Routines have started returning to normal at southern hospitals in the wake of the two-day strike by resident doctors.

The junior doctors were back at work at 7am yesterday after a 48-hour strike which resulted in the postponement of hundreds of operations and appointments at Otago and Southland hospitals.

The issue which prompted about 3000 doctors nationwide to strike is far from settled.

Union and district health boards are already preparing for a second 48-hour strike, scheduled for January 29 and 30.

"Unfortunately, unless the DHBs agree to a fair deal, we'll need to strike again in January," the union said.

A spokesman for the Resident Doctors Association union said it had invited DHBs to return to mediation, but was yet to receive a response.

No dates for any possible third strike had been issued, the spokesman said.

Southern DHB chief executive Chris Fleming said the organisation was still to confirm how many procedures were affected by the strike.

"Our hospitals and services dealt well with the added pressures presented by the NZRDA strike," he said.

While he hoped mediation could avert the next strike, the SDHB was already planning ahead in case it happened, Mr Fleming said.

DHBs spokesman Peter Bramley said nationwide, hospitals had coped well during the strike.

"DHBs will continue to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement that provides flexibility in rostering of resident medical officers to achieve better patient care and better training," Dr Bramley said.

"Meanwhile, DHBs are preparing for the next RDA strike at the end of the month."

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