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Nursing And Midwifery Staff Plan Industrial Actions In MidCentral DHB Region

Members of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) and Midwifery Employee Representation and Advisory Service (MERAS) have issued MidCentral DHB with notices of their intention to hold separate strike actions on 19 August 2021.

NZNO members will strike for eight hours between 11am and 7pm. MERAS members intend to strike for 12 hours, between 8am and 8pm.

These actions will involve a full withdrawl of labour by nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants.

MidCentral DHB Chief Executive Kathryn Cook said the actions will cover all union members working at Palmerston North Hospital, Horowhenua Health Centre and other MidCentral DHB facilities.

Hospital services affected include the Emergency Department (ED), therefore it is very important that people visit ED only in a medical emergency.

“We are here for you if you need us, and if you or a loved one are experiencing an emergency, please phone 111 without delay,” Ms Cook said.

“However, we encourage anyone who needs non-urgent care to consider visiting a GP, local community pharmacy, or free-phone Healthline at 0800 611 116.”

Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery Celina Eves said the DHB respected the right of staff covered by these collective agreements to take part in industrial action.

“Our priority now is to ensure the safety of patients and staff through this period.

“The DHB has been working collaboratively with NZNO and MERAS to mitigate risks to patients and staff during the industrial actions. We have Life Preserving Services agreements with the unions for the strikes.”

Ms Cook said some elective procedures and clinics had been deferred during the strike to free up staff. People whose appointments or procedures were impacted would be contacted beforehand.

Health professionals, other DHB staff and whānau are working together to ensure patients receive the best possible care, Ms Cook said.

“Family and whānau can be of real value by being with their loved ones and available to help, whether it’s making them more comfortable in their bed, helping them to and from the bathroom, making them a hot drink or getting them something to eat,” she said.

“We will not ask family or whānau to undertake any clinical duties or do anything that should be done by a health professional.

“But having one or two whānau members available throughout the strike day will help significantly and be greatly appreciated.”

Family/whānau members will be given information and identification stickers at the Ward receptions. Staff will be available to help or answer questions from whanau.

For more information, please phone 06 356 9169 or visit http://www.midcentraldhb.govt.nz/PatientsandVisitors/Pages/NZNO%20Action.aspx.

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