Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Strikes cause major delays to x-rays and scans

Strikes cause major delays to x-rays and scans

Karen Brown, Health Correspondent

X-rays and scans are needed by many patients admitted to hospital but today [Monday 30 Sept], from North Cape to Bluff, they were reserved for urgent cases only as radiographers went on strike.

someone looking at
a x-ray of a backbone

Photo by from Pexels

That was a major concern to the head of the emergency department at Hawke's Bay Hospital in Hastings, Mark Barlow.

"Probably 95 percent of patients who end up getting admitted to hospital have an x-ray or a scan of some sort within the first 24 hours of their admission," Mr Barlow said.

"The strike defers the imaging for a large number of patients which makes definitive decision making harder."

He said it also means less efficient care, and more patients waiting in beds that are already in high demand. But he said his biggest worry is the risk it poses to patients.

"From my perspective this is the biggest risk to patient safety that we have seen in the midst of all the health related industrial action that's gone on prior to this," he said.

"I think we were able to provide the same level of care through the other strikes but this one really takes away an important imaging modality that we use on a dialy basis for patients."

DHBs have said the strikes are part of a coordinated campaign by several health workforce groups to leverage more pay than others doing the same or similar work in other unions.

Mark Barlow. Photo: Supplied

The union has rejected that charge, but either way the pressure was also on at the large Canterbury DHB today.

Chief medical officer Sue Nightingale said restricted access to a range of x-rays and scans meant they've had to reschedule 400 non-urgent outpatient radiology appointments today, and a similar number for the strike on Wednesday.

She said about 10 operations also had to be postponed.

"So it's a huge impact on our patients and a huge impact on our staff with all the contingency planning that needs to happen," said Dr Nightingale.

"It affects clinicians, it affects managers, it affects our admin staff. But most singificantly it creates delays for patients which we just cannot catch up with."

Dr Nightingale said it's another blow during a tough year with the mosque attacks, the junior doctors' strike, and a major flood at the hospital.

"We're still behind in seeing a significant number of outpatients and we're behind in some of our elective surgery. It gets to the point where it's just not possible to catch up."

The chief medical officer of the Dunedin-based Southern DHB, Nigel Millar, said some major operations have also been delayed there.

He said he had not spoken to patients about this "but i think if I were them I would feel quite disappointed and frustrated that .. working up towards that type of major surgery is a big thing and then to find it's delayed at the last minute must be very distressing."

DHBs national contingency planner Anne Aitcheson said most DHBs needed to call in radiographers today under special Life Preserving Services agreements between the union and DHBs before the strike, for emergency care.

She added that is nothing to do with poor planning.

"This works the way it's designed to work," Ms Aitcheson said.

"This is part of the preparation that needs to take place for the two weeks before any period of industrial action, and ensuring that we have backup when we need it."

Hospitals stress those needing urgent care will still get it at public hospitals.

The Apex national secretary Deborah Powell said the strike today had "gone as expected".

She added that the strikes will continue until the employers come back with a decent offer.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On Betraying The Kurds

The Americans have now callously thrown the Kurds under the bus and created the ideal conditions for Islamic State to mount a comeback – all done so that Donald Trump can brag on the 2020 campaign trail that he brought the US troops home. How is the current fighting likely to proceed? More>>


Expert Comment: Online Voting Won’t Mean More Engagement

“Overseas experience is that online voting tends to be popular with those who are already likely to vote and who have high levels of digital literacy. It does little to help add new people to the voter pool, and this holds even for young voters.”More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Saudis (Not) Getting Away With Murder

On October 2nd last year, the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul, by a hit squad of assassins acting on the orders of the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman. More>>

Ellen Rykers on The Dig: Community Conservation – The Solution To The Biodiversity Crisis?

It’s increasingly clear that a government agency alone cannot combat the biodiversity crisis successfully. These grass-roots initiatives are a growing resource in the conservation toolbox. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Saudi Oil Refinery Crisis

So the US and the Saudis claim to have credible evidence that those Weapons of Oil Destruction came from Iran, their current bogey now that Saddam Hussein is no longer available. Evidently, the world has learned nothing from the invasion of Iraq in 2003 when dodgy US intel was wheeled out to justify the invasion of Iraq, thereby giving birth to ISIS and causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. More>>


  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog