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Preparation for Junior Doctors' Strike Continues


    Wednesday 16 April  2008 
Southland Hospital Continues Preparation for Junior Doctors' Strike

District Health Boards around NZ have received notification from the Resident Doctors' Association of intended strike action from 0700 Tuesday 22 April until 0700 Thurday 24 April. In Southland up to 30 junior doctors at Southland Hospital are expected to walk off the job for the 48 hour strike, meaning services have to be reduced in order to ensure emergency and very ill patients can be treated appropriately.

"All emergency services and treatment for people who are seriously ill will continue during the strike," Mrs Samuel said.

"However as a result of the strike action, we have had to postpone 12 theatre sessions, meaning about 45 patients will have to wait longer for their much needed elective surgery.

"In addition, we have also had to postpone 11 outpatient clinics which affects 106 patients who will now have to be rescheduled to see their doctor for an appointment."

Mrs Samuel said that a key focus for hospital contingency planning was to reduce the number of patients staying in the hospital over the strike period.

"In the days prior to the strike, we will be focusing on performing more day surgery cases, rather than surgery which requires a number of reecovery days in hospital. This approach allows us to continue to treat patients in the community who require less complex surgery, such as minor dental procedures, carpel tunnel and cataracts."

Mrs Samuel said the emergency department was a key focus for contingency planning and the public were being asked to keep the emergency department for emergencies only.

"During the strike people who become unwell are encouraged to see their GP or local health clinic first, or to call Healthline for 24-hour free health advice on 0800 611 116."

"Anyone who is seriously ill should not hesitate about coming to the hosptial's emergency department or calling an ambulance, but we ask everyone to please try and keep the emergency department for emergencies only," Mrs Samuel said.

Patients whose appointment or surgery is affected by the strike have been sent letters this week. For any queries the free phone patient inquiry number  is  0800 100 470.


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