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MRT strike serious - 80% of patients need scans

11 September 2006

MRT strike is serious - 80% of patients that come to hospital need scans

Bay of Plenty District Health Board has contingency plans in place to ensure patient and community safety during the Medical Radiation Technologists (MRT) strikes planned to start tomorrow (Tuesday 12 September).

Quality Manager Andrew Keenan says that the public should not underestimate the impact that the small number of staff going on strike (22 MRTs at Tauranga Hospital and 10 at Whakatane Hospital), will have on services.

“Approximately 80% of patients that walk through Tauranga and Whakatane Hospital’s doors require a scan, ultrasound or x-ray to be performed by an MRT.”

“Therefore the strikes will cause significant disruption to Whakatane and Tauranga Hospitals due to the wide range of services that rely on radiology for diagnosis,” says Mr Keenan.

The Bay of Plenty District Health Board has received three strike notices from the Medical Radiation Technologists Union, Apex.

These are planned for:
0700 Tuesday 12 September - 0700 Friday 15 September
0700 Tuesday 19 September - 0700 Wednesday 20 September
0700 Thursday 21 September - 0700 Friday 22 September.

The health board has contingency plans in place to ensure patient and community safety during the strikes.

Mr Keenan says that contingency planning is focused on minimising any possible risk to patients and utilising all available resources.

“Emergency cover will be provided although some elective surgery will be postponed before the strike dates to ensure patients likely to require radiological investigation are minimised as much as possible,” says Mr Keenan.

Most outpatient appointments will still continue to run. Where radiology is required, this will either be completed prior to the strike, or following the recommencement of radiology services after the strike.

Patients requiring radiology that is not urgent will either be transferred to private facilities, transferred to another public hospital unaffected by the strike (eg Waikato Hospital), or where appropriate, have treatment temporarily deferred.

All emergencies will still be dealt with by the hospital’s emergency departments.

Elective surgery patients affected by the strike have been notified and put on standby. If the strike is cancelled, surgery will be rebooked as soon as possible.

A recorded phone message has been set up for the Bay of Plenty community to update them on the strike in Tauranga on 07 579 8454 and Whakatane on 07 306 0960.

ENDS

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