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Resident Medical Officers to strike for five days

Families in the MidCentral DHB region are being encouraged to ensure they are enrolled at a general practice to avoid putting pressure on the Palmerston North Hospital emergency department during an upcoming five-day Resident Medical Officers (RMOs) strike.

The New Zealand Resident Doctors’ Association (NZRDA), which represents RMOs (also known as junior doctors), has issued MidCentral DHB with strike notice for a five-day period from Monday 29 April at 8am to Saturday 4 May at 8am.

The strike is part of ongoing national industrial action by the union.

MDHB Chief Executive Kathryn Cook said a contingency planning team of clinical leaders, supported by management, was carefully reviewing DHB services to determine what could be provided safely and efficiently during this time.

“While emergency and acute services will be available for those who need them during the strike, we strongly encourage people to use the hospital’s emergency department only for emergencies,” Ms Cook said.

“Due to the reduced numbers of doctors available, there could be significant wait times in the emergency department so if your health condition is not an emergency, please consider one of the several other healthcare options including Healthline 0800 611 116, your general practice team, a pharmacist and the district’s after-hours services.”

Ms Cook said despite the pressure such action placed on DHB staff and services, it was still important for anyone in need of emergency care to either dial 111 for an ambulance or come to the hospital as soon as possible.

A number of elective services, such as operations, procedures and outpatient clinics, would also be postponed during the strike period, she said. Patients who have appointments affected by the strike would be contacted directly.

“Due to the ongoing industrial action throughout late 2018 and early 2019, it may take us some time before we can book and treat all of the elective patients who have been affected by these actions.

“The patience and understanding from members of the public during this continued industrial action is much appreciated and we apologise to anyone who has been inconvenienced by the reduction and postponement of our services.”

A freephone number, 0800 PNHOSP (764 677), is available for anyone with questions or who requires further information. Updates and further advice with regards to the location of acute clinics and treatment options is also available from the MDHB website:

Additional information about the bargaining between New Zealand DHBs and NZDRA can he found at the TAS website.


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