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Health board managing strike well so far

13 September 2006

Health board managing strike well so far

Bay of Plenty District Health Board’s strike contingency leader, Quality Manager Andrew Keenan, says that the health board is managing the Medical Radiation Technologist strike well so far. Something he clearly attributes to sound planning and public support.

“We’ve been solidly planning for the strike since we were issued notice to ensure that patient safety remains our number one priority during this testing time,” says Mr Keenan.

“On top of this, our figures after day one seem to indicate that we are getting less people through our emergency department doors with minor injuries that could safely be treated by a GP.”

Yesterday the health board sent about a dozen people from Tauranga and Whakatane emergency departments to private radiology facilities for non-life preserving radiology services.

There were three activations for life preserving services at Tauranga Hospital yesterday, and one patient was transferred to Waikato Hospital for surgery to ensure access to radiology services if needed during general anaesthetic.

To date just three Tauranga people have been assessed at the emergency department and have had treatment deferred until radiographers are back on board on Friday.

In Tauranga 120 patients had their elective procedure or clinic appointment postponed and 35 patients in Whakatane, although Mr Keenan says that the impact is more widespread than that.

“This doesn’t take into account the number of people coming into the emergency department who will still be impacted, or the number of appointments we couldn’t book during the strike period,” says Mr Keenan.

Patients requiring radiology during the strike 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.

Two further 24-hour strike periods are planned for next week.

For information regarding the negotiations please refer to the attached statement from Lead CEO Dwayne Crombie.


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