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Junior doctors plan strike action

HBDHB preparing for planned strike action by junior doctors

A team of 15 Hawke’s Bay District Health Board staff are meeting daily as plans to scale down hospital services take effect in preparation for a planned five-day strike by around 90 junior doctors at Hawke’s Bay Hospital.

Junior doctors are a vital part of the health care team and work under supervision of senior doctors at the hospital, as they complete their training.

“While we hope the junior doctors’ claims may be settled before the planned strike, our contingency planning team have swung into action,” says Chris Clarke, DHB chief executive officer. “We have to significantly reduce the number of patients in hospital over the period leading up to, and during the proposed industrial action.

“We will start sending letters tomorrow to around 117 people whose elective surgery may be postponed if the planned strike goes ahead. These patients will be put on standby, and if strike notice is withdrawn, we will contact these people and their surgery will go ahead, as planned.

The strike is scheduled to take place from 7:00am on Thursday 15 June until 7:00am on Tuesday 20 June.

Outpatient appointments will also be affected, and letters will be sent to people whose appointments are likely to be postponed. Around 300 outpatient appointments may have to be rescheduled.

Due to reduced staffing during the strike period we will be closing some ward areas and aiming to keep the number of patients in hospital at a minimum prior to, and during the period of planned industrial action.

District nursing services will be boosted so we can provide more care in the community. This will include enhancing our existing in-home IV service, so people can have intravenous therapy in their own home.

Staff at the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation unit are talking with rest-home managers to identify any opportunities to transfer suitable patients from hospital to rest-home care during the period of the strike.

“While we are hopeful of a settlement, our priority is to provide safe care for existing patients and all emergency and acute cases during the strike. I apologise in advance to those whose plans for elective surgery or outpatient appointments may be disrupted,” Chris Clarke said.

END

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