Strike will increase waiting time

Waiting times for non-urgent radiology will increase because of the 24-hour radiographers' strike, Southern District Health Board diagnostic and support services Otago general manager Sonja Dillon says.

Ending at 7am today, the strike, on the back of months of rolling industrial action, was called in protest at DHBs in the Auckland area suspending radiographers for taking industrial action.

The radiographers' union, Apex, is locked in a long-running pay dispute with District Health Boards New Zealand.

Ms Dillon said about 250 routine radiology patients would need to be rescheduled because of the strike.

This would increase delays for MRI and CT scans.

At the end of July, the non-urgent MRI waiting time was 33 weeks, while that for non-urgent CT was nine to 12 weeks.

Ms Dillon said it would be helpful if the public could refrain from seeking non-urgent X-rays today, if possible, to help manage the backlog.

Of acute cases needing scans, two patients were being managed until the strike ended, and clinicians were satisfied they did not require life-preserving services.

The union provided life-preserving cover for four patients in Dunedin yesterday, Ms Dillon said.

Some cardiac and angiography elective procedures had to be cancelled.

On the whole, the public had been understanding about the situation, Ms Dillon said.


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