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Full Back Up Pledged During Doctors' Strike

Emergency Department to be fully staffed with Senior Medical Officers during junior doctors’ strike

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board reassures the public that the emergency department at Hawke’s Bay Hospital will continue to provide 24-hour care during the planned strike by junior doctors. Senior doctors will be providing additional cover for the duration of the strike.

Chief executive, Chris Clarke, said the hospital would be working with reduced staffing and had started scaling back services ahead of the strike. “Most non-urgent (elective) surgery and specialist appointments have been postponed. For the duration of the strike our focus will be on providing safe care for the patients we already have in hospital, as well as emergency and acute care.

“We encourage people to visit or phone their GP or medical centre if it’s not urgent or an emergency,” Chris Clarke said.

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

“We have postponed elective (non-urgent pre-booked) surgery and most outpatient clinics are being rescheduled. Around 420 patients have been affected. Those whose surgery or clinic appointment has been postponed have been sent a letter or phoned.

HBDHB has set up an 0800 number for people to call to check whether their appointment has been affected – the number is 0800 450 113 and operates business hours. After-hours people can leave a message.

Head of Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s Emergency Department, Dr Bob Butler, says “ The people of Hawke’s Bay have always demonstrated their capability to decide appropriately when they require emergency medical care.”

“If you are uncertain in any way, then please contact your GP or the emergency department for advice,” Dr Butler said. “If it’s clearly an emergency, don’t delay dial 111 for an ambulance.

Dr Butler said the prudent layperson’s definition of an emergency is: a medical condition, including severe pain, in which the absence of immediate medical attention could be expected to result in serious injuries to the mental or physical bodily function.

Simply stated, Dr Butler says “if you believe you have an emergency condition, or are uncertain in any way, then come to the emergency department.

“The absence of junior doctors will not impede our ability to provide appropriate emergency medical diagnosis and treatment, although it may mean longer waiting times in some instances. The emergency triage system will be maintained by emergency department nurses. This is to ensure the most urgent cases are always seen first.

“In the case of longer waiting times, we ask for your patience and forbearance, as it means we are attending to someone whose need is greater than yours at that moment. Dr Bob Butler said.”


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