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Timaru doctors' strike a milestone for Labour

Timaru doctors' strike a milestone for Labour

The Timaru doctors' strike is only the beginning of South Canterbury people having stretched services under the Government's population-based funding formula, says National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

"Senior doctors are overworked at Timaru Hospital and they are striking because they have no other option.

"Under the new population-based funding formula South Canterbury District Health Board chief executive Craig Climo says the hospital will only get $500,000 new money next year and that the board had no option but to 'bring down costs'.

"This appears to be at the expense of senior doctors. These doctors work one night in three and they work one night in two when other doctors are away. This is simply not sustainable and they have no lifestyle and little time with their families.

"This is why hospitals cannot attract doctors to work at rural hospitals.

"The situation will be even worse under the Government's population-based funding formula, which means South Island health boards will get much smaller increases in funding that those in the North Island.

"Under this the South Canterbury District Health Board will get one of the smallest increases in funding of any board in the country over the next two years. Timaru doctors and their patients will miss out again.

"Labour has created another milestone in the health system today with the first strike ever of senior doctors," said Dr Scott.

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