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Senior Doctors Strike For First Time Ever

Senior Doctors Strike For First Time Ever

History will be made at Timaru Hospital tomorrow when senior doctors begin strike action, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"This is the first time ever that senior doctors have gone down this avenue to have their concerns addressed. Mediation talks with South Canterbury DHB management have failed and Timaru Hospital specialists will reluctantly strike for one day each week for the next five weeks. The doctors will only see acute cases during this time.

"I know many of these doctors from my time working at Timaru Hospital. Only Annette King and this Government could drive a group of dedicated workaholics to strike.

"The senior doctors are concerned about their onerous on-call roster and the lack of junior doctors. Combined, these factors contribute significantly to their workload. They are the lowest paid senior doctors in the country.

"Minister of Health, Annette King, is refusing to become involved. She has devolved all responsibility for everything to DHBs.

"Timaru Hospital has been repeatedly punished for living within its budget. The Minister now says that this will change. However, fears about South Island funding with the introduction of Population Based funding make this sound like a hollow promise.

"The smaller provincial hospitals all suffer the same problems. Most specialties have staff shortages with the exodus of New Zealand trained doctors from the country. Those remaining are just expected to soldier on.

"Last Friday the National Business Review released a poll showing that doctors are the second-most respected group of professionals, close behind nurses. The public may appreciate what they do, but this Labour government shows no such respect and treats them with contempt," Mrs Roy said.

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