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Planning for junior doctors’ strike action

MEDIA RELEASE

For immediate release, Wednesday 12 October 2016

Southern District Health Board contingency planning for junior doctors’ strike action

Southern District Health Board’s contingency planning to ensure emergency and urgent care services are available during the planned two-day strike by members of the NZ Resident Doctors’ Union is progressing well, says Interim Chief Executive Chris Fleming.

Southern DHB staff is working through staff rosters and clinical and surgical schedules to make arrangements for the expected 48-hour strike from 7am Tuesday October 18th until 7am Thursday October 20th.

Elective surgeries and many outpatient clinics are being rescheduled and patients whose appointments are postponed are being contacted by Southern DHB staff directly.

Postponements are being determined on a case by case basis, depending on the urgency of the procedure, the capacity of individual areas to deliver services, and the need to ensure the hospital can respond to emergencies.

Senior medical doctors will be working during the strike period but because of the junior doctors’ industrial action, there will be fewer doctors working and therefore fewer procedures and surgeries performed and fewer clinics scheduled.

“This strike will cause disruption to our services, but patient safety remains our number one consideration,” said Chris Fleming, Southern DHB Interim Chief Executive Officer. “All DHBs across the country are affected, so there will be no support available from outside the district.”

Southern DHB employs 269 junior doctors but not all are members of the union and not all union members are striking, so the number of resident doctors that will be working is not yet known.

“Our workforce will be reduced during the strike period and we need to ensure those working during that period are available to care for the patients we have with high and complex needs, as well as those needing emergency care and for urgent procedures, such as cancer surgery,” Mr Fleming explained.

“We regret the significant inconvenience and stress this strike action might be causing patients and their families and the Southern DHB is doing all it can to mitigate the impact of the strike, particularly with regard to urgent and acute medical care.”

For non-urgent medical care, patients are encouraged to make an appointment with their family doctor or Urgent Doctors, or call Healthline 0800 611 116 for free health advice 24 hours a day.

ENDS


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