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Managing strike, seek public help for weekend

16 June 2006

Hospitals managing strike, but seek public help for weekend

Bay of Plenty District Health Board’s hospitals at Tauranga and Whakatane have been managing well during the strike thanks to robust contingency plans, says Quality and Risk Manager Andrew Keenan.

While doctors and nurses working during the strike acknowledge that ‘life is certainly easier’ with Junior Doctors around, they say that the nature of the health system means that they have been able to adapt quickly to implement the contingency plans and continue to provide a quality service to those requiring hospital care.

With the weekend close-by, staff at the hospitals would like to acknowledge the support they have received from GPs and the community to help keep admissions to the emergency departments to a minimum, and urge that this support continues throughout the weekend to ensure that patients in need of urgent care are treated and patient safety is maintained.

“Please see your GP or after-hours provider in the first instance for non-urgent medical care. However, all emergencies will still be dealt with by the hospital’s emergency departments,” says Mr Keenan.

The health board has implemented contingency plans based on all 108 RMOs (96 at Tauranga Hospital and 12 at Whakatane Hospital) striking for five days from 0700 on Thursday 15 June, to 0700 on Tuesday 20 June. Although it is estimated that approximately 17 RMOs in the Bay of Plenty are not part of the RDA union and have been available for work during the strike.

The strike has impacted on non-striking staff workloads and the ability to deliver services, however, all life-preserving services are continuing to operate.

Elective surgery patients affected by the strike have been notified, and their surgery will be rebooked as soon as possible after the strike.

The health board is participating in national, regional and local emergency response planning, which caters for both Tauranga and Whakatane Hospitals.

ENDS

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