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Third junior doctors’ strike will affect operations

Members of the New Zealand Resident Doctors’ Association [RDA] are planning to strike for 48 hours from 8am on Tuesday 12th February until 8am on Thursday 14th February 2019.

Canterbury DHB is advanced in its contingency planning to ensure it continues to provide safe care during the strike period when we expect most Resident Medical Officers/junior doctors will withdraw their services.

Canterbury DHB employs around 550 Resident Medical Officers [RMOs] and understands about 70 percent are RDA members.

A number of the others belong to a new RMO union.

Canterbury DHB employs RMOs at most of its facilities.

Paul Lamb, Canterbury DHB’s Acting Chief People Officer, says continuing to provide safe care for patients during the strike remains the highest priority and focus for the Canterbury Health System.

“We are prioritising essential and acute services, which means that some outpatient appointments and planned surgeries are being rescheduled,” he says.

“Patients who have appointments or surgery booked during the strike period can expect to hear from Canterbury DHB. If people don’t hear from us, they should turn up as per their appointment letter.

“I apologise in advance to those whose surgery or outpatient appointment has to be postponed.”

The Emergency Department (ED) at Christchurch Hospital will remain open during the strike as will Christchurch Women’s Hospital – however, there is a hospital midwives strike planned to take place from 9am – 9pm on Wednesday 13th February. Women should continue to follow their birth plan and if they are concerned, seek advice from their community Lead Maternity Carer or obstetrician.

“Canterbury people can help take some of the pressure off emergency services during the strike period by phoning their General Practice team first for all non-urgent care. When you call your usual general practice number after-hours your call will be answered by a nurse who can provide free health advice. If you need to be seen, they can tell you what to do and where to go for #carearoundtheclock.”

“Staff have started phoning people affected by this industrial action. Some complex surgery planned for the days leading up to the strike will also need to be postponed, as well as some surgery and outpatient clinics on the 12th and 13th of February.

“Our contingency plans involve reducing the numbers of people in our hospitals. Some people may be discharged with in-home care and support where it’s safe and appropriate to do so.

“Our free phone Strike Info number [0800 778 226] will be live from Thursday this week for people who want to check if their surgery or outpatient clinic appointment is affected. However, our intention is to contact everyone affected directly, by phone,” Paul Lamb said.

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