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Patient Safety Number One Focus

Friday 2 May 2008

Patient Safety Number One Focus during Second Strike

Patient safety will again be the number one focus for Southland Hospital staff as they prepare for the second round of strike action by junior doctors, said Leanne Samuel, Interim Chief Operating Officer. Next week's 49 hour strike will commence at 7.00am Wednesday 7 May and finish at 8.00am Friday 9 May.

"Our contingency planning is all about ensuring vital services for emergency patients and seriously ill people can be safely provided, as well as ensuring our inpatients receive the care they need," Mrs Samuel said.

"Accordingly we again must scale back non-urgent services to allow our senior doctors and nursing staff to focus on these priority areas and will be postponing most elective surgery over this strike period - affecting approximately 25 Southlanders."

"We will be working through mostly day case procedures, rather than complex surgery, in the day or two leading up to the strike, in order to reduce the number of inpatients in the hospital post-surgery."

Mrs Samuel said that this time, fewer outpatients will be affected as many of the clinics scheduled over the 7-9 May strike period are being run by visiting contracted specialists, meaning they can run as usual.

"However, there are some scheduled clinics run by our own specialists which will have to be postponed over the strike. This will affect around 60 Southlanders."

"Those patients whose clinic or surgery is affected by this strike will have received a letter from us this week."

A free phone patient query number has again been established on 0800 100 470.

Whilst up to 30 junior doctors are expected to strike, Mrs Samuel reiterated that senior doctors and nursing staff would be on deck to ensure inpatients received the care that they needed and urgent surgery and emergency services could also be provided.

"Considerable team work by our other workforce groups takes place to ensure our contingency plans are effective."

"We also need the support of the community to help us keep the emergency department for emergencies only. If people become ill or suffer a sprain or mild injury over the strike, we encourage them to see their GP or the After Hours surgery, or to call Healthline on 0800 611 116."

"If it is an emergency, do not hesitate to call an ambulance or come straight to the emergency department," Mrs Samuel said.


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