Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Strikes cause major delays to x-rays and scans

Strikes cause major delays to x-rays and scans

Karen Brown, Health Correspondent

X-rays and scans are needed by many patients admitted to hospital but today [Monday 30 Sept], from North Cape to Bluff, they were reserved for urgent cases only as radiographers went on strike.

someone looking at
a x-ray of a backbone

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

That was a major concern to the head of the emergency department at Hawke's Bay Hospital in Hastings, Mark Barlow.

"Probably 95 percent of patients who end up getting admitted to hospital have an x-ray or a scan of some sort within the first 24 hours of their admission," Mr Barlow said.

"The strike defers the imaging for a large number of patients which makes definitive decision making harder."

He said it also means less efficient care, and more patients waiting in beds that are already in high demand. But he said his biggest worry is the risk it poses to patients.

"From my perspective this is the biggest risk to patient safety that we have seen in the midst of all the health related industrial action that's gone on prior to this," he said.

"I think we were able to provide the same level of care through the other strikes but this one really takes away an important imaging modality that we use on a dialy basis for patients."

DHBs have said the strikes are part of a coordinated campaign by several health workforce groups to leverage more pay than others doing the same or similar work in other unions.

Mark Barlow. Photo: Supplied

The union has rejected that charge, but either way the pressure was also on at the large Canterbury DHB today.

Chief medical officer Sue Nightingale said restricted access to a range of x-rays and scans meant they've had to reschedule 400 non-urgent outpatient radiology appointments today, and a similar number for the strike on Wednesday.

She said about 10 operations also had to be postponed.

"So it's a huge impact on our patients and a huge impact on our staff with all the contingency planning that needs to happen," said Dr Nightingale.

"It affects clinicians, it affects managers, it affects our admin staff. But most singificantly it creates delays for patients which we just cannot catch up with."

Dr Nightingale said it's another blow during a tough year with the mosque attacks, the junior doctors' strike, and a major flood at the hospital.

"We're still behind in seeing a significant number of outpatients and we're behind in some of our elective surgery. It gets to the point where it's just not possible to catch up."

The chief medical officer of the Dunedin-based Southern DHB, Nigel Millar, said some major operations have also been delayed there.

He said he had not spoken to patients about this "but i think if I were them I would feel quite disappointed and frustrated that .. working up towards that type of major surgery is a big thing and then to find it's delayed at the last minute must be very distressing."

DHBs national contingency planner Anne Aitcheson said most DHBs needed to call in radiographers today under special Life Preserving Services agreements between the union and DHBs before the strike, for emergency care.

She added that is nothing to do with poor planning.

"This works the way it's designed to work," Ms Aitcheson said.

"This is part of the preparation that needs to take place for the two weeks before any period of industrial action, and ensuring that we have backup when we need it."

Hospitals stress those needing urgent care will still get it at public hospitals.

The Apex national secretary Deborah Powell said the strike today had "gone as expected".

She added that the strikes will continue until the employers come back with a decent offer.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Analysis: Dotcom Appeal For Surveillance Data Dismissed

Kim Dotcom’s Appeal against the decision allowing the GSCB to withold information as to communications illegally intercepted by them has been dismissed by the Court of Appeal of New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On China’s Bad Week

Even before the local body election results came in from Hong Kong, China had been having a p.r. nightmare this week. First, the ICIJ released a trove of leaked cables about the mass concentration camp system that China has built to control and to “re-educate” over a million people from its Uighur minority... More>>

Julie Webb-Pullman: Jacinda, THAT Tweet, And Gaza

The MFAT tweet condemning rocket fire from Gaza while failing to condemn the Israeli extrajudicial assassinations and civilian killings that generated Islamic Jihad’s rocket-fire in defensive response, reveals the hypocrisy at the heart of New Zealand’s so-called “even-handed” foreign policy and practice towards Palestine. More>>

Hope For Nature: A New Deal For The Commons

Joseph Cederwall on The Dig: To fully understand the biodiversity crisis and explore what comes next, it is necessary to address this mind-virus at the heart of our modern civilisation – the dominion worldview. More>>

ALSO: