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The Status Quo is Not An Option!

Media Statement for Immediate Release

31 May 2006

The Status Quo is Not An Option!

Junior Doctors or Resident Medical Officers today issued notice a five day strike from 0700 on Thursday 15 June, to 0700 on Tuesday 20 June.

DHB Advocate Dr Nigel Murray says it’s absolutely outrageous that Junior Doctors are threatening to cripple hospital services and putting patients at risk because they refuse to talk about ways of reducing work hours and modernising working conditions.

“The tragedy of this situation is that we’re both after the same thing, but the union flatly refuses to engage in meaningful negotiations. We’re not taking anything off them – we’ve even guaranteed their existing conditions - all we’re asking to do is explore new ways of working to achieve even safer working and training conditions.

“We’re determined that the old adversarial ways are simply not working in today’s hospitals – what we want is a collaborative, open process where DHBs and RMOs are equally represented.

“Over the last five years we’ve increased doctor numbers by 20%, their earnings have gone up 25%. Most junior doctors straight out of medical school will start on a package of $70,000 which is more than most people will retire on.

We have some genuine concerns about how well our proposal is understood by Junior Doctors.

“It is extremely disappointing to get notice of strike when we have four days of talks planned and the union still hasn’t quantified it’s pay claim.”

Dr Murray says each DHB has a contingency plan and will assess how a strike will affect services in their areas. “Patient safety remains our number one priority,” he says, “and It’s likely all but emergency services will be suspended during the strike and hospitals will need to start reducing services leading up to it.

“Modern health care is delivered by a wide ranging team of health professionals – junior doctors are a key part of that, but they’re turned their back on an offer to sit at the table with senior doctors and hospital managers to be part of long term solutions for the sector.

Our priority now is ensuring our hospitals are safe during the strike and we still hope negotiation and common sense will prevail and help find a solution.


ENDS

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