Surgeries, clinics on hold as thousands prepare to strike

Under new government rules, three-quarters of people working in the public sector - including...
Photo: Getty Images
Many elective surgeries and clinics scheduled across the country for Monday are being deferred in anticipation of 10,000 health workers walking off the job for 24 hours.

District Health Boards and the union Allied Health have agreed to retain life preserving services for the duration of the industrial action.

Efforts to settle pay claims for workers such as lab technicians, physiotherapists, social workers, pharmacists and psychologists have failed.

DHBs contacted by RNZ said some elective surgery and outpatient clinics will be cancelled on Monday but patients should attend scheduled appointments unless they have been contacted.

Emergency departments will remain open.

A Canterbury DHB spokesperson said many of its services will be impacted by the strike and wait times will be longer.

Around 100 outpatient and 220 community appointments that are run by Allied Health staff have been cancelled for tomorrow.

"The 24-hour strike will generally affect patient flow, in particular some discharges back to the community where physio, social work, occupational therapy and dietitians are often involved," a DHB spokesperson said.

"Where it is appropriate and safe to do so, we will discharge patients home ahead of the strike to reduce the pressure on those staff who are working."

Only urgent laboratory tests will take place on Monday for life preserving criteria for critical patients.

Burwood Hospital elective operating theatres will be closed and five operating theatres will be open at Christchurch Hospital for life preserving surgery.

"We would normally have around 15 surgeries at Burwood and around 90 surgeries at Christchurch Hospital on a Monday; however, it is hard to quantify the exact number of surgical admissions that have been deferred due to the strike action as some surgeries have not been scheduled as they normally would be due to the pandemic response," the spokesperson said.

"We respect the right of staff to take industrial action and acknowledge the important role that health workers play in delivering high quality care."

Auckland DHB said patient safety remains its priority and it will continue to provide emergency and life preserving services.

"Please come to your scheduled appointment unless we have contacted you directly to say your appointment is being rescheduled."

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter